Fauci Hits Back at Peter Navarro's 'Bizarre' Father of COVID Comments

Dr. Anthony Fauci has responded to former White House economic adviser Peter Navarro's claims that he is the "father" of the COVID-19 virus. He dismissed the idea.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke to Fox News' Neil Cavuto on Friday. Cavuto put recent criticisms from Navarro and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to him.

In a Fox News appearance on Tuesday, Navarro had attacked Fauci, calling him a liar and claiming without evidence that the infectious diseases expert had allowed China to engineer the disease.

"You know, Neil, I've been a symbol to them of what they don't like about anything that has to do with things that are contrary to them, anything outside of their own realm," Fauci said of his critics.

He addressed Navarro's claims directly. The economist had suggested COVID was developed in a Chinese lab, though the World Health Organization (WHO) says this is "extremely unlikely". Navarro also linked Fauci to the supposed genetic engineering of the disease.

"It's a little bit bizarre I would say ... Peter Navarro saying I created the virus?" Fauci said. "Isn't that weird? Come on."

Fauci also responded to Graham's recent comments saying that he was ignoring the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. Graham and some other Republicans have argued that the migrant surge at the border is a danger factor for spreading COVID.

"Lindsey Graham ... is a good person. I dealt with him very, very well over the years. You know, equating me with things that have to do at the border. I have nothing to do with the border," Fauci said.

"Obviously it's a very difficult situation at the border. We all know that. The administration is trying as best they can to alleviate that situation," he said.

Cavuto moved next to Peter Navarro's "father of COVID" comments and @LindseyGrahamSC wanting him to weigh in on COVID at the border. In both cases, Fauci denounced them as people who've decided he's "a symbol...of what they don't like."

On the border, he says it's not his place. pic.twitter.com/bDY4851pDs

— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 2, 2021

Navarro previously called Fauci "a sociopath and a liar" following comments Fauci made about a COVID vaccine. Fauci had said the decision to "go all out" for a vaccine was "the best decision that I've ever made with regard to an intervention as director of the institute."

"He had nothing to do with the vaccine. The father of the vaccine is Donald J. Trump," Navarro said.

"What is Fauci the father of? Fauci is the father of the actual virus," Navarro went on. "Fauci is the guy—this virus, according to [Robert] Redfield at the Centers for Disease Control, came from the Wuhan lab and basically we had Fauci not only funding that lab with American taxpayer dollars, he authorized this thing called gain of function research."

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided some grant funding for a lab in Wuhan, China but there is no evidence that the money was used for genetic engineering or to develop COVID-19. The WHO is focusing on so-called wet markets as a likely source of the disease.

Dr. Anthony Fauci During a Senate Hearing
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director at the National Institute Of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a hearing with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, on the Covid-19 response, on Capitol Hill on March 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. Fauci has dismissed the idea he was responsible for helping to create COVID-19. Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images