Dr. Anthony Fauci “should go to prison” for mishandling the COVID-19 pandemic and making the “worst decision ever made by a public health official in the history of time” regarding the origins of the deadly outbreak, Sen. Rand Paul charged Sunday.

Paul, a Kentucky Republican and eye doctor, has repeatedly clashed with Fauci over mask-wearing, lockdowns and other emergency measures ordered and recommended by the then-director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

“History should judge him as a deficient person who made one of the worst decisions in public health history — in the entire history of the world,” Paul said of the former chief White House medical advisor during an interview on WABC 770 AM’s “The Cats Roundtable.”

The senator ripped “slipshod” Fauci, holding him culpable for research done in the Wuhan, China lab, which Paul believes triggered the viral outbreak.

“For his dishonesty, frankly, he should go to prison,” Paul told WABC host John Catsimatidis. “Do you think the scientific knowledge that was gained from this research was worth the deaths of 20 million people?”

The Government Accountability Office issued a report in June 2023 that found the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had contributed more than $1.4 million to Chinese research institutions between 2014 and 2019 despite serious biosafety concerns, including at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Dr. Anthony Fauci arriving for an interview with the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic at the Capitol on Jan. 8, 2024. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Rand Paul said Fauci “should go to prison” for his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Fauci previously denied in testimony to Congress that the NIH had funded risky gain-of-function research at the lab in Wuhan, the area where the pandemic began in late 2019.

Paul said he was startled that Democrats still treat the nation’s former infectious disease chief as a medical messiah and protect him as a “symbol of big government.”

“He’s never been held responsible,” the senator said.

Fauci, the top pandemic medical adviser to two presidents, testified privately last week before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Paul blamed Fauci for funding the research done at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that some believe triggered the outbreak. Chinatopix via AP

The chairman of the committee, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), has said he was surprised how frequently Fauci said he didn’t recall decisions or circumstances during the early days of the outbreak that killed 1.1 million Americans.

Paul pounced on the 83-year-old Fauci’s of not being able to respond to questions over 100 times.

“A guy that’s smart enough to think that he can shut down the schools, shut down the economy, force everybody to get vaccinated, including children, including people who have already had COVID, including the military – we had mandates everywhere, and he was all for them – yet he can’t recall how the decision-making went or what the science is to support this,” Paul said Sunday.

He poked Fauci for saying he approved all the research at the Wuhan lab but didn’t read it.

“It looked like the virus came from the lab. But the lab only was able to function because the US funded it and Anthony Fauci approved of it,” Paul said.

“This is probably the worst decision ever made by a public health official in the history of time.”

Fauci could not be reached for comment.

During last week’s House testimony, Fauci spoke of a “new definition” of “operational” gain-of-function research, a phrase that often describes experiments that make viruses more contagious and virulent.

Paul said Fauci was responsible for the “worst decision ever made by a public health official in the history of time.” AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) told reporters afterwards that Fauci had referred to his “operational” definition when discussing his prior high-profile clashes with Paul over the topic in 2021 hearings.

The House subcommittee is also probing influence Fauci may have had over the US intelligence community about the origin of the pandemic after a whistleblower alleged that the NIAID director secretly visited CIA headquarters in an attempt to “influence” analysts who later were unable to determine whether SARS-CoV-2 leaked from a lab or was transmitted from animals to humans.

Fauci declined to respond to The Post’s questions last week about the whistleblower’s claim as he arrived for his interview. He also did not stop to talk as he left the interview room last Monday evening.

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