A Rational, Nuanced Discussion with Senator Rand Paul

21 Jul 2021

CLAY: I believe we have Senator Rand Paul with us now. Senator, thanks for making the time. Question right off the top for you: Do you believe, yourself, that Dr. Fauci has lied to the American public in his testimony? And, if so, why would he be lying?

SEN. PAUL: Well, I think the question is one of self-interest, you know. Is there a question…? Is there a self-interest by Dr. Fauci to not have any evidence point towards the lab, to not point towards him funding dangerous research in the lab? So, of course I think he’s conflicted. And so, yes, I think that he’s obfuscating, lying, distorting, doing whatever he can to deflect blame.

BUCK: And, Senator Paul, it’s Buck here. I just wanted to know, what proof do we have right now? When people say about the funding of gain-of-function research, there was a $600,000 grant that went through an intermediary from the NIH and then that intermediary gave that grant. Just for everyone listening, what are the hard-and-fast facts right now, if somebody wants to make the claim that there was at least some degree of funding for gain-of-function research?

SEN. PAUL: Well, without question the NIH funded the research, when you look at the papers by Dr. Shi from the Wuhan institute, the woman they called the Bat Scientist. When she publishes her papers, they have to list in the funding source, and they list a 10-digit NIH number listing the exact grant and where the money came from. So it’s without question the NIH funded this.

I think what now is going on is that Fauci is trying to obscure the fact that this is gain-of-function research. But if you look at NIH’s statement, it described gain-of-function research as taking an animal virus that typically only infects animals, changing it genetically to a virus that can infect humans. That’s gain-of-function. That’s gain-of-function research.

In fact, they simply say in their NIH definition not just humans, but mammals in general. The paper that we presented to him yesterday — which nobody in the left-wing media has bothered to even look at — is a 2017 paper done entirely in Wuhan. She admits the funding came from NIH, Dr. Shi.

But in this, she takes two viruses she found in a bat cave. She takes the genes that attach to the S-protein of those viruses, and she recombines them with another virus called SARS. SARS is a coronavirus from the 2004 era that caused 15% mortality. So she combines new bad viruses she found with an old backbone of a SARS virus, and then she infected human cells.

So to me, this is the very definition. In fact, we quoted a professor from Rutgers with a 30-year history who says that what this scientist was doing was the epitome of gain-of-function. So Fauci stands up and says, “Oh, all my experts say it’s not.” Well, they’re all self-interested. He funds them all. You can’t get everybody over this who’s not petrified that Fauci will take their funding from them.

So he’s not an objective source because if any blame attaches to Wuhan, he’s associated with that. So he needs to be excluded from any investigation. So does [Dr. Peter] Daszak; so does anybody that was involved with funding Wuhan because if we finally conclude that this came from the Wuhan lab, guess what? The people who funded the program have a lot of explaining to do.

CLAY: Doctor, I think it’s important to reference the fact that you are a doctor as well. We’ve been thanking you a lot on this show for asking the questions that you are of Dr. Fauci because so few people will actually ask them. What should happen? If we did — as I believe that you have laid out the case very strongly.

If we did use American taxpayer dollars to help fund gain-of-function research and if this covid virus did escape from a lab, what next? And I’m assuming, by the way, that you do believe that the evidence would show that this virus came out of a lab, not that it was in some way naturally occurring, as you just laid out. That’s not a very reasonable hypothesis at this point in time.

SEN. PAUL: The first thing you stop doing is funding this research. I introduced an amendment about three weeks ago — that actually passed in the Senate and we’re hoping will become law — to have no more funding of the Wuhan institute. So that’s the first thing you do.

But in addition, we should look at the funding of some of this research in our country. We do this in North Carolina and Galveston primarily. Do we really want to take a virus that has 15% mortality and recombine it with another virus that is more transmissible in humans and create these super viruses? I think it’s a huge mistake. We need to have a…

You know, they need to be a full-blown committee hearing. I’ve requested of Patty Murray, the senator from Washington, have a full-blown bipartisan hearing; bring the scientists in. Many of the scientists who are supporting me on gain-of-function, they’re not Republicans. Most of the university professors in our country are Democrats.

But there’s a huge number of them that have been arguing on gain-of-function that it’s too dangerous since 2002. So I’m late in this debate. But these university professors have been saying this to Dr. Fauci, and finally they convinced him to pause it in 2014. But then for some unknown reason, the Wuhan research sort of escaped scrutiny.

And if you look at the email chain — the private email chain of Dr. Fauci on January 31st — you see alarm and you see urgency. He’s sending emails at 2:30 in the morning ’cause he’s scared to death that American public’s gonna discover that he was funding the lab and that they were doing dangerous research. And he’s also scared to death that ultimately there will be a link to the lab.

And then in public, he says completely the opposite of what he’s saying in private. In private, four scientists send him an email that night saying that the virus looks like it’s been manipulated in a lab. Interestingly, these scientists a week later changed their opinion in public — at the direction of Fauci, Daszak, and others who are self-interested in this — that their first impression was that it looked like it had been manipulated in the lab.

There are also others who are saying this. There are famous Nobel laureates saying this. Even the gentleman doing the research in North Carolina has now said that he does this gain-of-function research, but he’s worried that it might have come from the lab. Fauci’s not being honest with people, and people are so beholden to him that I think they’re afraid to speak out.

BUCK: Senator Paul, Buck again. I wanted to just get your opinion on a related topic as somebody who’s obviously following this very closely from the policy side but also as a medical doctor yourself. I’ve had numerous infectious disease specialists that I know in my life tell me that immunity that you get naturally is as good or likely to be better than vaccinated immunity based on what we know of the history of how this tends to play out in other situations involving vaccinations.

Is there some evidence that we are not aware of or is there some explanation for why there is just a general disregarding of those who have acquired it. Like you have, I have, Clay have all had covid and have covid antibodies. What should we know about that, and why isn’t that a part of the discussion?

SEN. PAUL: Every study so far on natural immunity to covid-19 shows long lasting immunities. No study shows that you’re losing your immunity or that it goes away. Every study shows that it does. And whether it’s stronger than the vaccine or weaker depends on the disease. So measles — the red measles — if you get that naturally, you have lifelong immunity.

If you get the vaccine, you need a booster about every decade or two. So that’s an example of natural infection being stronger than the vaccine, but they both work. So I’m not arguing against the vaccine. In other examples, they say like tetanus, the vaccine is actually better than the disease.

You can get tetanus and disease, and if you survive apparently doesn’t give you enough immunity, the same immunity that a vaccine does; so it varies. But the reason there — well, the fact — that they are good morning natural immunity has real consequences. So right now there are more people in India that want the vaccine than there is a supply of the vaccine.

So the vaccine will go a lot farther if they ignore Dr. Fauci’s bad advice and they gave the vaccine first to elderly and first to those who haven’t been infected. So it’s really a waste of vaccine if you have people lining up and they say, “Oh, yeah, I got it three months ago but I just want to be safe,” and meanwhile, there’s a 70-year-old guy that (chuckles) hasn’t had covid yet who’s waiting behind the guy who already has had covid.

So it will save thousands of lives if you recognize natural immunity. The other reason to recognize it is, if you recognize the hundreds million Americans who have had this plus a hundred-and-some-odd million that have been vaccinated, guess what? That’s why you have herd immunity and the numbers have gone down dramatically in our country.

If you don’t count those who got it naturally like myself and others, then you think, “Oh, we’re woefully short.” This is what Dr. Fauci’s saying, and it’s not true — once again, not true — then he wants to force the vaccine on children. So children aren’t at risk for covid-19. The chance of death is one in a million, less than being struck lightning. But they’re wanting to force this on newborns, 5-year-olds. They’re wanting to mandate it for school. But it’s only because they’re (chuckles) ignoring the science of natural immunity.

CLAY: This is fantastic. I really appreciate it, Senator Paul. So you would advise, as a doctor — and we’ve been talking about this, a lot of us have children — that it doesn’t make sense for kids to get the vaccine. What about those of us who’ve had natural immunity like Buck and myself, and you who’ve got covid, still have covid antibodies? Do you think it makes sense if we go out and get the vaccine? Should we? How would you advise people who know they’ve had covid, know they have immunity in antibodies right now, does it make sense to also get the vaccine?

SEN. PAUL: The first thing is in a free society everybody makes up their own mind based on their doctor’s advice — and sometimes multiple doctors’ advice — and there can be conflicts of opinion. I’ll give you a general statement, but it could still be different based on your own medical history. First of all, the vaccine is way safer than the disease if you’re over 65, without question.

That’s my advice. If you don’t want to take it, that’s your business. But that’s just my advice. If you want to take it, over 65, I think the statistics are very good. If you’re over 40 and overweight, I think you’re at significant risk for this too and I would be… Below age 40 when you get down into the twenties, I think that the standard has to be very, very high, almost to perfection for the vaccine because the disease is so extraordinarily non-lethal in the younger ages, particularly below age 25.

Whether or not you take it or not? If it were my children and they were pushing me on it, I would probably test ’em for antibodies first and see if they’ve had the disease. If my kids had had the disease, there’s no way I would give them the vaccine. For people my age — I’m 58 and have had it — at this point, I don’t think there’s any evidence that there are large numbers of people who have had it getting it and going to the hospital and dying.

If I see a study next week that says, you know, 5% of the people who had it a year ago are now in the hospital and dying, (chuckles) I’ll change my mind and I’ll go vaccinated. But given the evidence now and given that there are no studies showing large numbers of people in the hospital or dying that previously had the disease, I’ve chosen not to get the vaccination.

But, you know, members of my family I have advised to get it that are over 65, overweight. A few of my brothers and sisters are physicians. They chose to get it because they see patients with covid. I’m not against the vaccine, but I am for freedom and letting each individual make their own decision.

BUCK: Senator Rand Paul, we really appreciate you joining us and sharing your expertise and perspective. Great to talk to you.

SEN. PAUL: Thanks, guys.

BUCK: Clay, let’s come back and get into some of this. I’ve also got me so the Afghanistan updates because we just had the secretary of defense on. You look like you’re already —

CLAY: Those kind of segments; you can’t hear ’em anywhere else, Buck. I mean, it’s really amazing. To have Rand Paul sit with us for 15 minutes and just wade through all of those things, it is, I think, eminently important. And there are massive parts of our media, Buck, that wouldn’t allow that conversation to be heard anywhere right now.

BUCK: In just that conversation people, including myself, learned things.

CLAY: Yes.

BUCK: Data-based, reasonable, nuanced. This is not what you hear. It’s “Rand Paul wants old people to die ’cause of Republican and Trump!”

CLAY: It’s all stupidity.

BUCK: “These are stupid red-staters!” No.

CLAY: That was more intelligent, I guarantee you be, than any segment that will air on MSNBC anywhere, today, probably this week, maybe this month.

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