PAUL: [blah blah Fox News conspiracy theories blah blah] Dr. Fauci, knowing it's a crime to lie to Congress, do you wish to retract your statement where you said the NIH never funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan?
FAUCI: Sen. Paul, I've never lied before Congress and I do not retract that statement. [...] Sen. Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about. OK? [...] I totally resent the lie that you are now propagating, senator, [...] and you are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individuals, and I totally resent that. And if anybody is lying here, Senator, it is you.
A lesser-known rule of American citizenship is that you are allowed to have as much contempt towards Congress as you want, because just look at them. You are especially allowed to have contempt for Rand Paul, personally, because Rand Paul is the Ted Cruz of Jim Jordans and yeeeesh.
What Paul has been attempting to do in these hearings, repeatedly, is push forward the Trump-preferred theory that the COVID-19 virus responsible for the current pandemic was manufactured in a Chinese laboratory and either escaped or was intentionally released, because reasons. There's still zero plausible evidence to support this, and a good deal of evidence suggesting the virus jumped from mammals to humans as countless other viruses have, worldwide, since the dawn of viruses themselves.
It would be useful to Trump-allied incompetents and pro-fascists for the more conspiratorial theory to be true, however, because demonizing the Chinese government and, especially, portraying the pandemic fight as a battle between world powers rather than a battle with Republican administration corruption and incompetence would sell much better at racist Republican rallies. Even if the virus was a laboratory invention, and even if it was, say, accidentally released by American scientists forced to withdraw from the Wuhan lab during one of Trump's many, many retaliatory spats with China and with international health organizations, it would not make even the slightest difference in how the virus should have been responded to. The sole purpose of Paul's conspiracy peddling is to slather a racial or anti-commie set of talking points in a layer thick enough to at least partially hide the catastrophically incompetent response mounted by an archconservative administration, archconservative state governors, and The Idiots Around Him.
Fortunately, the rest of us are allowed not only to notice that Rand Paul, a grifter, is attempting to deflect from Republican incompetence by promoting new Fox News-preferred explanations for why it's not conservatism's fault, but absolutely loathe Paul for being such a fundraiser-obsessed shitbird that he's willing to paper over the Trump team's responsibility for a half million American deaths by reassigning the blame, in whatever manner it takes, to the same enemies that conservatism believes is responsible for any bad thing that happens anywhere in the world. It's the fault of Red Communism, tricky foreigners, and above all the scientists who are big jerks and say mean things about climate change and the consequences of smoking and the incursion of fracking chemicals into drinking water and whether or not wearing a thin cloth mask can keep the people around you from dying.
It's always those damn scientists, with their book learning and their irritating research papers that conclusively disprove things that Rand Paul and his fellow conservatives have bellowed on about, solely for the sake of their best donors, for decades now. They must be the reason that Ron DeSantis can't get the virus under control in Florida. They must be the reason an anti-malaria medication doesn't work against COVID-19 even though some incompetent twit with Trump's ear had convinced him that it would be the cure-all that made all other pandemic responses unnecessary.
Yeah, Paul has a bone to pick with scientists. And reality. And his neighbors. And nobody around him has to put up with it, because he's a grifting, lying, self-aggrandizing blowhard and deserves every bit of the contempt he gets.