Fauci Calls Senator a Moron

The octogenarian epidemiologist is tired of the foolishness.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addresses his remarks at a roundtable on donating plasma Thursday, July 30, 2020, at the American Red Cross-National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)
Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

The Hill (“Hot mic catches Fauci calling GOP senator ‘a moron’“):

White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci was caught on a hot mic Tuesday calling Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) “a moron” during his testimony before the Senate Health Committee on the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The tense exchange came as Marshall questioned Fauci about disclosing more of his personal finances to Congress. Marshall cited a Forbes story that reported that Fauci is the highest-paid federal employee, earning $434,312 in 2020.

“I don’t understand why you’re asking me that question,” Fauci said. “My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so for the last 37 years or so.”

“The big tech giants are doing an incredible job of keeping it from being public,” Marshall responded. “We’ll continue to look for it. Where would we find it?”

“All you have to do is ask for it,” Fauci said. “You’re so misinformed, it’s extraordinary.”

After the back-and-forth ended, Fauci could be heard muttering, “What a moron” and “Jesus Christ” in a clip tweeted by Mediaite.

Marshall issued a statement responding to Fauci’s comments caught on the microphone later Tuesday, saying that calling him a “moron” may have “alleviated the stress of the least trusted bureaucrat in America.”

“I understand that Anthony Fauci had a very frustrating day: having a bombshell report show he in fact did award U.S. tax dollars for gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and being called out about his personal financial disclosure during the COVID pandemic NOT being publically available must be very frustrating,” Marshall said in the statement. “Calling me a moron during a Senate hearing may have alleviated the stress of the least trusted bureaucrat in America, but it didn’t take away from the facts.”

Not surprisingly, perhaps, I’m on Team Fauci here. It was simply an embarrassing line of questioning from Marshall. Like any other senior executive in government, Fauci files a comprehensive financial disclosure form on an annual basis. His salary, while extraordinary* for a public servant, is public knowledge and approved by act of Congress.

My only dissent is that Marshall, who is a medical doctor by training, is almost certainly not a moron. Instead, he’s something worse: a hack.


*He literally makes more than the President, whose salary is $400,000. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court makes $277,700 and Associate Justices make $265,600. Four-star generals and admirals including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and all manner of other federal executives are capped at $172,500. But there are a hundred-odd Medical Officers making in the $400,000 range.

FILED UNDER: Congress, US Politics,
James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Matt Bernius says:

    Also good from that hearing was his handling of shameless hack Rand Paul. I especially appreciated Fauci using visual aids to point out Paul’s hackery.


  2. Kathy says:

    To paraphrase Groucho Marx: He may talk like a moron, and look like a moron, but don’t let that fool you: he really is a moron.

  3. KM says:

    Eh doctors can be morons – being intelligent is not the same as being smart. One can memorize Grey’s Anatomy and pass their boards without truly grasping what they’ve learned. You know the old joke – what do you call the student with the lowest passing grade in med school? Doctor.

    Plenty of MDs out there barely scraped by to earn that diploma. If you juuuuust passed, society is supposed to give you the same respect as the veteran with decades under their belt and excellent pools of knowledge and experience to draw on. Wiki’s got him listed as “completing his residency in obstetrics and gynecology”, making him an OBGYN at best (didn’t see if he actually worked anywhere, just was “on a Board”). I do not want my OBGYN doing open heart surgery as specialties exist for a reason; he’s a moron for thinking “medical training” qualifies him for the big leagues in another field so the stupid financial question is just icing on the stupidity cake.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @KM: Marshall is just another intelligent idiot.

  5. gVOR08 says:

    Fauci Calls Senator a Moron

    A minor quibble, but being inadvertently caught muttering to oneself that the moron is a moron is not quite calling out the moron as a moron.

    And as others have noted above, some people are born moronic, some people have moronity thrust upon them, and some people choose to be moronic. You don’t really think GOP pols all believe their MAGAt nonsense, do you? And what @KM: said about doctors also applies to lawyers, who constitute the majority of pols.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    For Marshall, Paul and Kennedy and others to which it applies, Fauci should simply ask on receiving an idiotic question, “Senator, have you forgotten everything that you learned in medical school.” Performative BS is tiring.

  7. Scott says:

    If anyone is curious, here is the Form OGE 278e that Fauci has to file every year.

    There are always new ethics bills filed in Congress. It would be enlightening to know whether Sen Marshall voted for or against them.

  8. Scott F. says:

    And The Hill publishes Marshall’s statement in response without noting the senator is lying about what information was revealed at the hearing. There are morons all around.

  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    These are the moments in politics I savor, when someone accidentally blurts out the truth.

    We suffer from a moron problem, a big, indigestible lump of stupid stuck in the nation’s throat. Did people get dumber, or did social media just give voice to cretins? Is it time to take another look at eugenics? Can CRISPR deliver smarter babies, babies who’d grow up to understand that committing suicide-by-virus is not actually a great way to express your political views?

    It’s time to ask ourselves whether imbecility has become a national security issue. We’re going to need camps, lots and lots of camps where idiots can be confined but treated with compassion, given lots of red meat to eat and reality TV shows to watch. Every now and again we could introduce a deadly but completely preventable engineered virus to the camp, then claim that the 100% effective vaccine was full of nanobots designed to cause gender confusion. The inmates – sorry, guests – who saw through this ruse would survive and thus earn a chance to be released back into the general population.

    I’m gonna reach out to Bill Gates and George Soros, see if we can get some momentum behind this.

  10. Mr. Prosser says:

    Hot microphones are a boon. I remember Daniel Inouye saying, “what a liar” about Ehrlichman during the Watergate hearings.

  11. Jay L Gischer says:

    And good lord, he even invoked the Giant Tech Conspiracy to explain why he doesn’t know (Hint: he does know) Fauci’s salary.

    “I can’t find it!” means “It didn’t magically fall out of the sky onto my desk! It’s a conspiracy!”

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Did people get dumber, or did social media just give voice to cretins?

    I think it’s more FOX “News” et al than social media. Rupert Morloch and his spawn are destroying the country. Given the First Amendment, I can’t see a way to shut them down, or even prevent them from lying*. But we used to have the Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to present both sides.

    The Doctrine applied only to broadcasters and was justified as a licensing requirement. But I wonder if we couldn’t find some way to apply it to cable. It was an FCC rule, so maybe it could be done again by regulation without having to clear the filibuster. A set of Nixon and Reagan FCC appointees repealed it saying it infringed free speech. But you know, it didn’t. They could still say anything they wanted. They just had to let others also speak. All sorts of issues about what issues are controversial and require counterpoint, whether counterpoint is adequate, and so on. But it worked for almost forty years.
    * I feel constrained to say it’s not so much lying as misleading. It’s not that they say things they know to be untrue. It’s more an issue of spinning what they cover and not covering a lot of things. At the moment their top five stories are inflation!, Ted Cruz criticizing ‘one-sided’ media, a ratings drop at CNN ( I believe FOX’s ratings are also down post election), and some stuff about Venmo and a baby found in a dumpster. Partisan attacks and trivia. Nothing is just news except some of the trivia.

  13. Matt says:

    @gVOR08: I can’t stand to watch Fox news proper but I do see their website on my google news feed more than I’d like. Their headlines are almost always misleading or lie via omission. It’s not technically lying but it gives the wrong impression. It’s blatantly obvious on google news as there’s other websites listed next to fox news reporting on the same thing.

    An example would be something like say Fauci kicked down a door of a house that was on fire and rescued the family. Fox news would have a headline like “Fauci invaded private homes for vaccine agenda?” or “Fauci leaves family pet to die in horrible fire”…

  14. Mimai says:


    some people are born moronic, some people have moronity thrust upon them, and some people choose to be moronic

    @Michael Reynolds: Your entire comment.

    Signal boosting your joint beacon to Gustopher.