Rand Paul says U.S. botched covid. He could soon lead probes of it.
The Kentucky senator, who has clashed with Anthony S. Fauci and other health officials throughout the pandemic, is in line to lead a Senate committee should he win reelection and Republicans retake the chamber next week. (While Paul is heavily favored in his own race, control of the Senate is viewed as a toss-up by pollsters.) GOP control would give the libertarian doctor — an outspoken critic of the government's coronavirus policies — the power to lead investigations and help set legislative priorities next year, either as chairman of the Senate's sweeping health committee or its more targeted government oversight panel.
"If you help me win, I promise to subpoena every last document of Dr. Fauci's unprecedented coverup," said a Paul fundraising email sent Oct. 20, referring to Paul's allegations that Fauci contributed to the virus's creation by funding research in Wuhan, China — allegations Fauci has categorically denied.
An ophthalmologist by training, Paul is set to be the most senior Republican on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, better known as HELP, which oversees the nation's health and education agencies as part of its expansive portfolio. The possibility has rattled health-care leaders and trade groups, worried that Paul will follow through on his criticism of "Big Pharma, the medical establishment and public health officials" for their stances on covid. Paul has argued that those groups wrongly quashed disagreements about how to fight the pandemic. In 2021, for instance, he called for more research into treatments such as ivermectin, noting that it was already in clinical trials to test its effectiveness against a number of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. The drug was subsequently shown to be ineffective against the coronavirus.