White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci was caught on a hot mic Tuesday calling Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) "a moron" during his testimony before the Senate Health Committee on the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The tense exchange came as Marshall questioned Fauci about disclosing more of his personal finances to Congress. Marshall cited a Forbes story that reported that Fauci is the highest-paid federal employee, earning $434,312 in 2020.
"I don't understand why you're asking me that question," Fauci said. "My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so for the last 37 years or so."
"The big tech giants are doing an incredible job of keeping it from being public," Marshall responded. "We'll continue to look for it. Where would we find it?"
"All you have to do is ask for it," Fauci said. "You're so misinformed, it's extraordinary."
After the back-and-forth ended, Fauci could be heard muttering, "What a moron" and "Jesus Christ" in a clip tweeted by Mediaite.
Marshall issued a statement responding to Fauci's comments caught on the microphone later Tuesday, saying that calling him a "moron" may have "alleviated the stress of the least trusted bureaucrat in America."
“I understand that Anthony FauciAnthony FauciThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Voting rights week for Democrats (again) Trump-DeSantis tensions ratchet up Overnight Health Care — Biden faces pressure from Democrats on COVID-19 MORE had a very frustrating day: having a bombshell report show he in fact did award U.S. tax dollars for gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and being called out about his personal financial disclosure during the COVID pandemic NOT being publically available must be very frustrating," Marshall said in the statement. "Calling me a moron during a Senate hearing may have alleviated the stress of the least trusted bureaucrat in America, but it didn’t take away from the facts."
What appeared to be an exasperated response from Fauci came amid a tense day of questioning from Republicans on the Senate health panel.
Fauci also clashed with Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul cancels DirecTV subscription after it drops OAN Trump slams Biden, voices unsubstantiated election fraud claims at first rally of 2022 Overnight Energy & Environment — Lummis holds up Biden EPA picks MORE (R-Ky.) about the senator's personal attacks against him. Fauci said Paul's attacks put him and his family in danger, citing a recent incident in which police arrested a man with a firearm who claimed that he was traveling from Sacramento to Washington, D.C., in order to "kill Dr. FauciAnthony FauciThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Voting rights week for Democrats (again) Trump-DeSantis tensions ratchet up Overnight Health Care — Biden faces pressure from Democrats on COVID-19 MORE."
The man was reportedly in possession of an AR-15 and carried with him a "kill list" that included President BidenJoe BidenMadame Tussauds unveils new Biden and Harris figures US raises concerns about Russian troop movements to Belarus Putin tests a model for invading Ukraine, outwitting Biden's diplomats MORE and former Presidents Clinton and Obama.
This story was updated at 6:32 p.m.