The billionaire Tesla and Twitter boss, Elon Musk, has triggered a social media firestorm on Sunday after suggesting that US Covid-19 czar, Dr. Anthony Fauci, should be investigated and prosecuted for allegedly lying under oath about the funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab in China.
In what initially appeared to be an ironic dig, poised to trigger an avalanche of criticism from the left, Musk also posted a meme showing the retiring White House chief medical adviser whispering “Just one more lockdown my king” in President Biden’s ear.
But after Fauci’s name was propelled to the top of Twitter trends with over 600,000 mentions, Musk apparently felt forced to elaborate why he thought the controversial face of America’s response to the pandemic should be investigated.
“As for Fauci, he lied to Congress and funded gain-of-function research that killed millions of people,” Musk said in response to one critic, adding “not awesome imo.”
I strongly disagree. Forcing your pronouns upon others when they didn’t ask, and implicitly ostracizing those who don’t, is neither good nor kind to anyone.As for Fauci, he lied to Congress and funded gain-of-function research that killed millions of people. Not awesome imo.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 12, 2022
The 81-year-old Fauci, who plans to retire by the of the month, led a disjointed US Covid-19 response marked by his flip-flopping on issues such as the efficacy of masks and herd immunity targets. Shortly after Fauci announced that he would step down as Biden’s chief medical adviser and as director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) – Senator Rand Paul demanded that the US administration preserve documents and messages that could become evidence in the potential probe.
“Fauci’s resignation should not prevent a full-throated investigation into the origins of the pandemic. He must be required to testify under oath regarding any discussions he participated in concerning the Wuhan lab leak. His policies destroyed lives,” tweeted Paul.
Fauci’s resignation should not prevent a full-throated investigation into the origins of the pandemic. He must be required to testify under oath regarding any discussions he participated in concerning the Wuhan lab leak. His policies destroyed lives. https://t.co/DTYKc6nL8G
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 11, 2022
The senator previously accused Fauci of directing public funding to gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab and lying about it under oath in congressional testimony, as the two sparred repeatedly in Senate hearings.
Gain-of-function is the modification of pathogens to enhance them in various potential ways, including transmissibility. The rationale is that scientists can study new strains and find ways to stop them before similar adaptations emerge naturally.
The ‘lab leak’ theory – that the coronavirus leaked from a Chinese lab – was popularized by former US President Donald Trump, who made the allegation amid a trade war with China. Major US media organizations and tech platforms initially labeled it as ‘disinformation’ and tried to suppress the theory from public discourse. However, after Musk took over Twitter, the company stopped enforcing its Covid-19 “misleading information policy.”