CNN anchor Brianna Keilar targeted Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. in a rant on Tuesday, calling him an “ass” for how he’s treated Dr. Anthony Fauci in past hearings and predicting he’ll do the same when they meet again.
“Nothing brings out Senator Paul’s propensity to act like an ass like a congressional appearance by Fauci,” Keilar said on CNN’s “Newsroom,” responding to how Paul’s communications team was “trolling” the witness ahead of the Senate meeting, with Paul’s chief strategist writing “F*** you” to Fauci on Twitter.
Keilar tried to reason that while Fauci is “not immune” to lawmakers’ questions, Paul seems to approach their encounters as if they’re “WWE matches.”
In recent months, Paul has grilled Fauci on why schools have not fully reopened, why Americans still have to wear masks if they’re vaccinated, and why Fauci and other officials continue to wear masks, arguing that it only discourages people from getting vaccinated.
“What studies do you have that people who have had the vaccine or had infection are spreading the infection?” Paul demanded at a March hearing. “If we’re not spreading the infection isn’t it just theater? You’ve had the vaccine and you’re wearing two masks, isn’t that theater?”
A visibly frustrated Fauci countered that Paul was the one who was performing with his line of questioning.
This isn’t the first time that Keilar has singled out Republican lawmakers for insults. She once called Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis an “ass” for how he treated CNN reporter Rosa Flores after she seemingly blamed him for vaccine distribution trouble at local hospitals. This also isn’t the first time Keilar has ridiculed Paul in response to his interactions with Fauci.
Fauci has enjoyed extensive media praise throughout the pandemic, but critics have knocked the press for failing to press him or point out some of the government’s messaging inconsistencies.
Viewers fumed over the weekend when “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd did not ask the infectious diseases expert about the origins of COVID-19 or the reported U.S. funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Those same frustrated observers appear fed up that Fauci continues to move the goal posts as to when life can return to normal and when they can put masks away for good. In a recent interview, Fauci predicted that may not happen until 2022.
Paul said Monday he was “looking forward” to Tuesday’s hearing.