A recurring feature of America’s COVID-19 response was on full display Tuesday as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci during a congressional hearing (watch above). Fauci said the incendiary rhetoric has led to death threats and harassment.

During the hearing, Paul accused Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease specialist, of stifling dissenting views within the scientific community.

“A planner who believes he is the science leads to an arrogance that justifies in his mind using government resources to smear and to destroy the reputations of other scientists who disagree with him,” Paul said. “Do you think it’s appropriate to use your $420,000 salary to attack scientists that disagree with you?”

“In usual fashion, Senator, you are distorting everything about me,” Fauci said. “You keep coming back to personal attacks on me that have absolutely no relevance.”

“This happens all the time, you personally attack me, with absolutely not a shred of evidence about anything you say.”

Fauci said the attacks have led to “threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children with obscene phone calls because people are lying about me.”

“Now, you know, I guess you could say, ‘Well, that’s the way it goes. I can take the hit.’” Fauci continued. “Well, it makes a difference because, some of you may know, just about three or four weeks ago on December 21, a person was arrested who was on the way from Sacramento to Washington, D.C., at a speed stop in Iowa. And they asked, the police to ask him where he was going, and he was going to Washington, D.C., to kill Dr. Fauci.”

“They found in his car, an AR-15 and multiple magazines of ammunition because he thinks that maybe I’m killing people,” Fauci said.

Fauci pointed out that Paul has a fundraising appeal on his website that reads ‘Fire Dr. Fauci.’ There’s a “a little box that says contribute here. You can do five dollars. Ten dollars. Twenty dollars, a hundred dollars,” Fauci said, holding up a printout of the fundraising appeal. “So you are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain.”

The Daily Beast provides context on Paul’s questionable COVID-19 positions:

Paul has regularly trafficked in bizarre conspiracy theories regarding COVID. Earlier this year, he insisted that public health officials were discounting the use of folk remedies such as hydroxychloroquine, which has not been proven to work at all against COVID, and ivermectin—a drug used to treat head lice and intestinal parasites—because of their “hatred” for ex-President Donald Trump. As hospitalizations rose in Paul’s home state of Kentucky, he urged Americans to ignore CDC guidelines and “anti-science mask mandates,” which have been proven to reduce transmission of the virus. And over the summer, Paul claimed without any proof that Democrats were taking migrant children from border areas and “putting them all over the United States” to “seed the country with a new variant.”