A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: If you only see bad guys in public service, then, like Paul, you see bad guys despite evidence

Let’s see…Adolph Hitler, Uncle Joe Stalin, Tony Fauci, Pol Pot, Mao Tse…

Whoa. Wait just a doggone minute. Something wrong here but I just can’t put my finger on it. The list of ogres responsible for the deaths of millions through atrocities like genocide and government-based terrorism over the centuries is horrific but, thankfully, quite short. The worst people in the history of the globe populate the catalogue and are forever damned to historic hell.

Now we discover if Sen. Rand Paul, R-JeffYass, isn’t yet prepared to commit Dr. Anthony Fauci to that monstrous register, he’s at least trying to make the case that the retired head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to President Biden has earned an honorable mention and a bronze plaque.

In Paul’s bizzarro world, Fauci, as a result of his official duties had a hand in a countless number of deaths resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and he did so consciously. Fauci lied about the true origins of the virus and used federal dollars for what is called gain-of-function research, a term of art that seems to mean different things to different people, although Paul insists it fueled the worldwide malady that led to almost 7 million deaths – 1.1 million in the U.S. alone.

The NKyTribune’s Washington columnist Bill Straub served 11 years as the Frankfort Bureau chief for The Kentucky Post. He also is the former White House/political correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service. A member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, he currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, and writes frequently about the federal government and politics. Email him at williamgstraub@gmail.com

Paul intends to lay out his case this fall in a book he has written, emerging from the right-wing Regnery publishing house – roll over Tolstoy and tell Garcia Marquez the news – titled Deception: The Great Covid Coverup, outlining his claim that Fauci is indeed a brute of the first order.

“Covid-19 was deadly, but the real killer was the cover-up, led by Anthony Fauci — America’s most durable medical bureaucrat — who knew from the beginning the virus was likely genetically engineered and possibly leaked from a lab,” Paul said in a statement contained in a Regnery public relations release. “He knew because he’d skirted regulations and funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan and elsewhere. We can’t allow Fauci and his yes-men to walk away from what they’ve done, or the next pandemic may be far worse.”

You read that right. The “real killer” in the deaths of 7 million wasn’t the bug itself, it was the coverup staged by Fauci.

Yeah, right.

And what exactly was that coverup? This requires some review.

The first COVID-19 case was recorded on Dec. 31, 2019, in Wuhan, China, the site of the Wuhan
Institute of Virology, which has received about $600,000 in research funding from EcoHealth Alliance, using grant funds from the National Institute of Health.

The origin of the virus has been unclear from the outset. Fauci on April 3, 2020, said it likely emanated from a so-called wet market in Wuhan, with the bug transferring naturally from an animal to a human. ” …a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences (of
the virus) and the sequences in bats as they evolve,” he said. “And the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human.”

So far so good. Fauci initially dismissed suggestions that COVID instead spread as a result of a leak at the Wuhan lab where research into coronaviruses was underway. On March 4, 2020 he told National Geographic he was leaning “very, very strongly’’ against the idea that the virus was “artificially or deliberately manipulated.” Various studies, he said, indicated that most likely “it evolved in nature and then jumped species.”

Later that month, Paul raised the lab leak theory at a Senate hearing and questioned the wisdom behind the $600,000 EcoHealth bequest to the Wuhan facility, maintaining it likely was used for gain-of-function, a research method that causes a pathogen to become more infectious to humans to help develop ways to combat any spread. Fauci has consistently denied U.S. funding was used for gain-of-function at the Wuhan lab.

Meanwhile, On May 11, 2021, during a Senate hearing, in a change of course, he acknowledged that it was possible the pandemic was the result of a lab leak, although he continued to hold the natural transmission theory was more likely.

Since then, Paul has been hounding Fauci like Ahab pursuing the white whale, turning what can only be described as abusive at various junctures over a scientific disagreement regarding the origin, claiming at one point that Fauci had “lied dozens of times” and deserved a stretch in prison.

“So he knew from the very beginning if this leak from the lab in Wuhan that the guilt, the culpability for the pandemic would attach to his horrific decision to fund this lab,” Paul told Fox News on Wednesday. “And so, no, he’s been trying to cover it up from day one. It’s only in the last six months or so he started saying this ‘open mind’ thing. But no, he’s been part of an elaborate cover-up to make sure that no one ever knew the truth. But we're going to get to the truth, I promise.”

All right, let’s get to the truth.

Within three months of the outbreak, Fauci acknowledged that the lab leak was a possibility. He has continued to say so consistently ever since. On June 3, 2021, for instance, he told CNN, “I still believe the most likely origin is from an animal species to a human but I keep an absolutely open mind that there may be other origins … It could have been a lab leak.”

Does this sound like a coverup to you? If so it’s a lousy one. Watergate was a coverup. This is just an immunologist expressing an educated opinion on the source of a pandemic. There is no reason to assume Fauci was anything but sincere in his belief. It just doesn’t fit with Rand’s skewed narrative.

What’s more, the concept that the virus evolved in nature and jumped species remains viable and has more adherents than doubters, with the codicil that no one knows for sure and that the answer may be blowing in the wind forevermore.

Yet, recently, Reuters reported that a Chinese research team sent DNA evidence taken from the Wuhan wet market during the outbreak to an international gene sequence database. The data indicated the presence of wild animals in the same section of the market where the team had found the virus. The animals, known to be susceptible to bat viruses, included raccoon dogs, bamboo rats and porcupines. The Wuhan lab was miles away from the market.

“Although not conclusive, some scientists said the data add evidence to the theory that the virus jumped from animals to humans through what is known as ‘zoonotic spillover,’ a source of many infectious diseases in humans,” Reuters reported.

The argument over gain-of-function is even murkier.

The federal government ended funding for gain-of-function (let’s call it GOF) research in 2014 because of safety concerns. That same year EcoHealth Alliance was awarded a $3.7 million grant from the National Institute of Health to research coronaviruses in bats. Of that, $600,000 went to Wuhan.

The money was used to examine newly discovered bat viruses “without affecting the environment or development or physiological state of the organism,” according to the agreement between EcoHealth and Wuhan.

Regardless, Paul maintains the funding was used for gain-of-function research, citing, among other sources, Richard Ebright, laboratory director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University, who said two academic papers produced by Wuhan showed that new viruses were created at the lab that “risked creating new potential pathogens” that were more infectious. “The research in both papers was gain-of-function research,” Ebright told the BBC.

But investigations by the National Institute of Health and the University of North Carolina, which collaborated with Wuhan, “were deemed not to be gain-of-function. And Fauci maintains the agreement passed muster under review.

There apparently in science world is no agreement on what constitutes gain-of-function. I say potato, you say, well, whatever it is you say.

Anyway, Rand Paul, who, you know, is smarter than all of us, apparently knows what Anthony Fauci was thinking this whole time and he just totally lied about believing the species jumping theory. Or maybe Paul just a very, very small man who needs a fall guy like Fauci to support a theory that there’s no such thing as a dedicated public servant in the U.S. government.

Related Posts

One Comment

  1. John Scales says:

    You sir are right about Rand Paul being smart.

Leave a Comment