During a Congressional hearing Tuesday, US infectious disease specialist Dr Anthony Fauci accused Republican Senator Rand Paul of distributing false information and inciting death threats against him because of Fauci’s work on the epidemic.

Fauci claimed Paul’s baseless charges accusing the White House senior medical advisor of millions of deaths have resulted in a relentless barrage of harassment during a heated question-and-answer session before the Senate health committee.

“What happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue is that all of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there and I have threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children with obscene phone calls, because people are lying about me,” Fauci told the panel.

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Fauci, who was holding some of Paul’s office literature calling for the scientist’s dismissal, claimed that a California man was caught in Iowa on December 21 while driving from Sacramento to Washington with the intention of killing multiple government officials, including Fauci.

“The police asked him where he was going and he was going to Washington DC to kill Dr. Fauci,” he said. “They found in his car, an AR-15 and multiple magazines of ammunition because he thinks that maybe I’m killing people.”

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It’s the latest escalation in a long-running dispute between the two authorities. Since at least September 2020, when Fauci chastised Paul for misrepresenting the truth, the two have sparred over the country’s pandemic response.

Masks, the risk of reinfection, the condition of the pandemic, and the origin of the coronavirus have all been points of contention between Paul and Fauci.

During the hearing Fauci was seen maskless, while Dr Rochelle Walensky was double-masked, some Twitter users pointed out.

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“In usual fashion, Senator, you are distorting everything about me,” Fauci said Tuesday. “This happens all the time, you personally attack me, with absolutely not a shred of evidence about anything you say.”

Dr Rochelle Walensky, interim FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, and Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for readiness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, all testified alongside Fauci. The purpose of the hearing was to look into the government’s efforts to combat the extremely contagious omicron variety.