MSNBC Doc Says Fauci Critics Are Anti-Science, Pandemic’s ‘Leading Killer’

Baylor University’s Dr. Peter Hotez joined Andrea Mitchell on her Tuesday MSNBC show to discuss Dr. Anthony Fauci’s appearance before the Senate Health Committee. Responding to Sen. Rand Paul’s questioning of Fauci, Hotez alleged that attacks on Fauci are also attacks on him and on science.

Hotez’s remarks came after Mitchell asked about the CDC’s “credibility gap” resulting from their “confusing guidance,” but Hotez said those criticisms are not the same as “the attacks on prominent U.S. scientists.”

Trying to compartmentalize widespread criticism of the CDC and others, Hotez declared:

Component one is the fact that the far right anti-vaccine aggression has caused 200,000 Americans since June to, last June to lose their lives because they were defiant of vaccines, so there is — and this is coming right out of the CPAC conference, ‘vaccines are political instruments of control or first they’ll vaccinate you then they’ll take your guns and Bibles away,’ quotes from members of the United States Congress. So the attack on Tony and Dr. Fauci today, it’s all on just Tony. It’s myself and a few other key U.S. scientists is, is all part of that. It’s, it’s, and it’s not random. It’s intentional. It’s meant to discredit science and discredit scientists and sow doubt in the American people for political gain, so Dr. Fauci was absolutely right in the way he responded. 

Later, Mitchell continued to pile on Paul while mispresenting the Republican Senator’s main criticism:

What Dr. Paul was saying, because I had just pointed out that Dr. Paul accused Dr. Fauci of being personally responsible for the death of 800,000 Americans, and I think we can all agree that it’s the anti-vaxxers, the politicization that started under Donald Trump, all of that, that led to that, and I’m not sure how, how we can heal that rift and get people to finally get vaccinated which is the core of the problem especially with this highly transmissible variant. 

She naturally omitted that when Paul blames Fauci for the pandemic, he is talking about controversies related gain of function research in Wuhan. Hotez still agreed and lamented:

This is one of the toughest things as, as a biomedical scientist, a physician scientist, I’ve ever had to talk about because all of our training says you don’t talk about Republicans and Democrats and liberals or conservatives, we’re supposed to be above all that…It this strict partisan divide. And it’s a killer. As I say, 200,000 unvaccinated Americans die by anti-science aggression, anti-science is now a leading killer of young and middle-aged adults in the United States of America.

According to the CDC’s website, over 86% of adults have chosen to get vaccinated. On any other topic, that would be considered a consensus, but on vaccines, it results in mud being slung at Republicans so that MSNBC can continue to pretend that all criticisms of Fauci are attacks on science itself. 

This segment was sponsored by Liberty Mutual.

Here is a transcript of the January 11 show:

MSNBC

Andrea Mitchell Reports

12:06 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: Doctor Hotez, first of all, I want to ask you about the questioning of the CDC and, of course, Dr. Fauci by the senators and even from some senators who are not typically, they’re not Rand Paul, some who are more moderate senators who have not been this hostile in their questioning before. There’s a real credibility gap now with the CDC because of a lot of the confusing guidance.

PETER HOTEZ: Well, there is some credibility gap from the CDC, but I think, you know, it’s important not to conflate that with the attacks on prominent U.S. scientists. I mean, let’s, let’s break it down into components. Component one is the fact that the far right anti-vaccine aggression has caused 200,000 Americans since June to, last June to lose their lives because they were defiant of vaccines, so there is — and this is coming right out of the CPAC conference, “vaccines are political instruments of control or first they’ll vaccinate you then they’ll take your guns and Bibles away,” quotes from members of the United States Congress. So the attack on Tony and Dr. Fauci today, it’s all on just Tony. It’s myself and a few other key U.S. scientists is, is all part of that. It’s, it’s, and it’s not random. It’s intentional. It’s meant to discredit science and discredit scientists and sow doubt in the American people for political gain, so Dr. Fauci was absolutely right in the way he responded. 

Having said that, there are some issues with, with the Centers for Disease Control. You know, they’ve come up small so many times since 2020 in terms of missing the entry of the virus from Southern Europe to ignite the New York epidemic and then the diagnostic testing, never getting the genomic testing under way, never measuring vaccine effectiveness. So, so this is an going problem. And here is, is what really needs to be said, is there are, are there some epic fails at the Centers for Disease Control, and it’s unrealistic to think that any one new director can come in and fix this. To do change management at a federal agency needs the full on support of the president and White House, and so far they’ve, at least not publicly, unless there’s things going on behind the scenes, they’ve not been willing to make those changes to modernize the CDC which urgently needs to be modernized. 

MITCHELL: Let me get back to also what we were also talking about initially because I didn’t mean to defend the senators in particular – 

HOTEZ: No, I know.

MITCHELL: What Dr. Paul was saying, because I had just pointed out that Dr. Paul accused Dr. Fauci of being personally responsible for the death of 800,000 Americans, and I think we can all agree that it’s the anti-vaxxers, the politicization that started under Donald Trump, all of that, that led to that, and I’m not sure how, how we can heal that rift and get people to finally get vaccinated which is the core of the problem especially with this highly transmissible variant. 

HOTEZ: That’s right. And, and those who are defiant of vaccinations are strictly along a partisan divide. You can show this in the red states, and you can make these very strong associations statistically between percentage of conservativism, those who voted for Donald Trump, and those who are defiant of vaccinations. And, you know, Andrea, this is one of the toughest things as, as a biomedical scientist, a physician scientist, I’ve ever had to talk about because all of our training says you don’t talk about Republicans and Democrats and liberals or conservatives, we’re supposed to be above all that. But I don’t know how to talk about it without talking about it because it’s just so obvious from studies done at M.I.T. And the Kaiser Family Foundation Foundation, reported The New York Times. It this strict partisan divide. And it’s a killer. As I say, 200,000 unvaccinated Americans die by anti-science aggression, anti-science is now a leading killer of young and middle-aged adults in the United States of America.

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