Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases director, blamed rhetoric from Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky for sparking death threats against him and his family.
Paul has falsely accused Fauci of being responsible for millions of deaths, and at a Senate hearing on COVID-19 on Tuesday, Fauci said the charge "kindles the crazies out there."
"I have threats upon my life, harassment of my family, and my children with obscene phone calls because people are lying about me," Fauci said.
Paul looked on without emotion on as Fauci made his charges.
Fauci pointed to the arrest of a man last month at a traffic stop in Indiana who told police he was on his way to Washington, D.C., "to kill Dr. Fauci." Fauci said an AR-15 assault style weapon was found in his car, along with multiple magazines of ammunition.
The two have sparred at hearings throughout the pandemic, and Fauci said Paul was fundraising off of his attacks, accusing him of "making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain." Paul's reelection website has a section called "Fire Fauci."
Paul's attacks, Fauci said, distract "from what we are all trying to do here today, [which] is get our arms around the epidemic and pandemic that we are dealing with."
Fauci was responding to Paul's criticism of emails in which Fauci, who also President Biden's chief medical adviser on coronavirus, seemed to be criticizing the work of other scientists.