The GOP Doctors Caucus on Tuesday sent a letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, demanding he apologize for calling Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., a "moron" during a heated exchange during committee testimony last week.
In a letter headed by caucus vice chair Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., and co-signed by 12 other Republican doctors serving in Congress, the members wrote:
"People expect physicians to be tolerant and always respect diversity. A physician, especially in a national leadership position, who doesn’t respect diversity — which includes diversity of opinion — reflects poorly on our entire profession."
They added that they "understand that congressional hearings can sometimes be challenging," but added that Fauci calling Marshall, who is a fellow physician, a "moron" during a Senate hearing was "extremely unprofessional and uncalled for."
Marshall, they said, "is a highly qualified physician and highly respected," adding that "colleagues, even when they do not agree, should not stoop to calling another colleague a juvenile name."
"The medical profession is one that is normally held in high esteem. This type of behavior undermines the trust that Americans have in physicians," the letter continues. They ask for a public apology from Fauci for what they term his "unprofessional comment."
Fauci's comment came during a Jan. 11 hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee designed to examine if policy changes are needed while the U.S. is battling the highly contagious omicron variant.
At one point, Fauci lost his temper when Marshall accused him of hiding financial disclosure forms required of public officials.
"You’re so misinformed that it’s extraordinary," Fauci responded, saying those documents are publicly available upon request. As the exchange ended, Fauci could be heard muttering off-camera, "What a moron."
Marshall later said he was less concerned that Fauci had called him a moron than that he had, according to Marshall, "lied to Congress" over Gain-of-Function research connected to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Marshall has since requested and released Fauci's finances, found to be $10.4 million in investments. He is also reported to be the highest paid federal employee at $434,000 per year.
"Dr. Fauci has forfeited his credibility as a public health expert by placing political science ahead of medical science," Murphy, a practicing surgeon, told Fox News. "Physicians have an obligation to put forward clear, consistent, and well-educated messaging to inform patients and the public. Instead of fulfilling this responsibility, Dr. Fauci has administered confusing and conflicting information in an air of arrogance that has resulted in a marked decrease in the public’s trust."
Neither Fauci nor the NIAID had responded to a request for comment from Newsmax late Tuesday.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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