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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., joined "The Story" Tuesday after his public clash with Dr. Anthony Fauci at a Senate Health Committee hearing, during which Paul challenged the health official and argued that his words are not the “end-all” when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I don't question Dr. Fauci’s motives," Paul told host Martha MacCallum.
"I think he's a good person, I think he wants what's best for the country, but he's an extremely cautious person," the senator added. "I don't think any of these experts are omniscient. I think they have a basis of knowledge but when you prognosticate about the future or advocate for things dramatic and drastic, like closing all the schools, you should look at all the information."
"We have to take with a grain of salt these experts and their prognostication."— Sen. Rand Paul, 'The Story'
In one of the more tense moments of Tuesday’s hearing, Paul – the only U.S. senator to have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 – said the public health response to the pandemic has been riddled with “wrong prediction after wrong prediction” and that Fauci should not be the one making decisions on issues outside his purview.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the federal government’s most visible faces during the public health crisis, balked at Paul calling him the “end-all” and said his recommendations do not extend beyond the realm of science and public health.
Following up on Paul’s question about reopening schools in the fall, Fauci said that there is still much that researchers don’t know about the novel coronavirus and the country should not be “cavalier” in reopening institutions too quickly.
"The real question I asked him was, 'Are you aware of the mortality among children?' And he is," Paul acknowledged, "but the mortality is exceedingly low, close to zero in the age group 0-18 ... so, should we say all of these kids zero through 18 don't go to school? No. I think we make that part of our decision-making process. But we need to have competition among the experts."
Paul, who is an ophthalmologist, argued that advice from Fauci and other medical experts over when and how to reopen the country should be taken "with a grain of salt."
"We have to take with a grain of salt these experts and their prognostication," he said. "The future is very uncertain but turning down and closing the entire economy has been devastating and that is a fact."
Fox News' Andrew O'Reilly contributed to this report.