The Perfect Enemy | Ted Cruz tells CPAC that Fauci should be jailed over COVID-19 ‘lies’ and mandates - The Dallas Morning News
February 23, 2024

Ted Cruz tells CPAC that Fauci should be jailed over COVID-19 ‘lies’ and mandates – The Dallas Morning News

Ted Cruz tells CPAC that Fauci should be jailed over COVID-19 ‘lies’ and mandates  The Dallas Morning News

OXON HILL, Md. – Sen. Ted Cruz demanded prosecution for Dr. Anthony Fauci, telling conservative activists Thursday that the nation’s most prominent public health expert lied about COVID-19′s origin and “destroyed” lives by encouraging closure of schools and businesses and prodding Americans to wear masks and get vaccinated.

“He led policies that destroyed peoples’ lives, that hurt tens of millions of kids across this country and destroyed businesses,” Cruz said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “He elevated politics over science and medicine.… He told millions of Americans lies — willingly, knowingly, glibly.”

Cruz has long denounced Fauci as a “despot” who committed perjury at a Senate hearing in May 2021 when he denied that the National Institutes of Health had ever funded “gain-of-function research” at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Such research involves altering viruses to make them more transmissible. Independent fact-checkers say the evidence remains thin of U.S. funding for such research in China.

The Wuhan lab has long been suspected as the source of the pandemic because it specializes in the sort of bat-carried pathogens that killed tens of millions in the last three years, starting at a nearby “wet market” where meat from bats and other species is sold.

“By the way, CPAC is serving bat soup for lunch. It’s delicious,” Cruz quipped from the main stage as he taped a half-hour episode of his podcast with moderator Ben Ferguson and a guest, freshman Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio.

That got a laugh. The first mention of Fauci drew widespread boos from the few hundred people in the huge hotel ballroom at National Harbor.

The Department of Energy recently attributed the outbreak to a leak from the Wuhan lab. That echoed the FBI’s conclusion.

“For two years that was derided as a conspiracy theory, tinfoil hat wearing nutty theory, that you weren’t allowed to say or you’d get banned on social media,” Cruz said, boasting that in March and April 2020 he had told his podcast audience the virus probably had leaked from that lab.

Cruz made no distinction between whether the virus leaked from the lab and the separate, unsettled question of whether it was manmade.

Fauci has shrugged off the Texas Republican’s attacks before.

“I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, senator?” he said on CBS’ Face the Nation in November 2021, alluding to the mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol hoping to overturn Donald Trump’s defeat. “I’m just going to do my job. I’m going to be saving lives and they’re going to be lying.”

Cruz’s attacks on Fauci dovetail with his promotion of vaccine skepticism.

Last fall Cruz asserted there was “zero scientific basis” for universal vaccination because the shots don’t confer 100% protection. Medical experts and vaccine makers called that a misunderstanding or even “dishonest,” because vaccines are intended to reduce serious illness and death, not halt spread of a disease.

Fauci was director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1984 to 2022.

Under Republican President George W. Bush, he oversaw creation of PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), a program credited with saving 25 million lives in the last two decades, mostly in Africa.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit three years ago, Fauci became the face of the Trump administration’s response. He continued at the White House as senior medical adviser under President Joe Biden.

Cruz and other conservatives bristled from the outset at Fauci’s advice — on behalf of the public health establishment – to wear masks and, later, get vaccinated.

Many blame Fauci for restrictions on public gatherings and other mandates, nearly all of which emanated from state and local officials, other than Biden’s mandates for military personnel and federal workers and contractors.

Asked in that Face the Nation interview whether he viewed Cruz’s attacks as a way to deflect blame from Trump, Fauci added, “Of course. You’d have to be asleep not to figure that one out.”

The next day, Cruz hit back, telling Sean Hannity on Fox News that in his view, “Dr. Fauci, I think, is the most dangerous bureaucrat in the history of the country.”