Doctor Anthony Fauci on Wednesday responded to a video posted by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in which she claims that the nation’s top infectious diseases doctor colluded with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to control the narrative about the origins of COVID-19. Fauci said he had “no idea” what Blackburn was talking about.
In the 50-second video, which Blackburn captioned “the facts on Fauci that big tech doesn’t want you to know,” the Tennessee senator accuses Fauci of nefariously coordinating a “narrative” about the origins of the coronavirus with Zuckerberg.
“I don’t have a clue what she just said. I have no idea what she’s talking about,” Fauci said during an interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC. “I’m sorry, I don’t want to be pejorative against a United States senator, but I have no idea what she’s talking about.”
Blackburn’s video is part of a pattern of attacks on Fauci from Republicans, seeking to discredit him and bolster the image of former President Donald Trump.
Here are the facts on Fauci that big tech doesn’t want you to know. pic.twitter.com/qDAdMOFMFq
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) June 8, 2021
The attacks, which began when Trump was in office, have intensified in recent weeks following renewed attention to the origins of the coronavirus and the release of thousands of pages of Fauci’s emails obtained by news outlets through public records requests.
Fauci has long faced scrutiny from Republicans over his evolved guidance on masking and other issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
But as new questions have emerged about the true origins of the coronavirus, some Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators have seized on connections between Fauci and a lab in Wuhan, China, drawing unsubstantiated conclusions that Fauci was responsible for funding the creation of the coronavirus that caused the global pandemic.
“It was Dr. Fauci and his agency that wrote that check, sent that money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, to do this coronavirus research,” Blackburn said.
Blackburn was likely talking about the grant given by the National Institutes of Health that went to the Wuhan Institute, which is the premier lab for studying coronaviruses, and the possibility that scientists at the lab were conducting “gain of function” research.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a $3.4 million grant to the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance from 2014 to 2019. The Wuhan Institute of Virology was awarded a $600,000 subgrant under that contract, for the purpose of researching bat coronaviruses over five years.
There is no evidence the virus was created in a lab. But scientists have said they cannot rule out the possibility that the virus may have leaked out of the Wuhan lab, which is the world’s top coronavirus research institute.
In numerous interviews and public appearances, Fauci has said the money to the Wuhan lab was not meant for gain-of-function research into human-made superviruses.
“If you go through each and every one of the points — which are so ridiculous, just painfully ridiculous — but nonetheless if you go through each and every one of them, you can explain and debunk it immediately,” Fauci said.
Fauci went on to say that attacks on him are really attacks on science and the truth because what he says is based on science and the truth.
Watch portion of the interview below:
Dr. Fauci slams Marsha Blackburn and other critics, "If you're attacking me, you're also attacking science." pic.twitter.com/5M0LbtPQOG
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) June 9, 2021