Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday called immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci the "most dangerous bureaucrat" in US history, deepening his feud with the healthcare expert.
In an interview with FOX News' Sean Hannity, Cruz lashed out at Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, saying Fauci had been "dishonest, he's been political, he's been partisan, and the American people know it."
"I don't think anyone has hurt science, has hurt the credibility of the CDC, has hurt the credibility of doctors more than Dr. Fauci," said Cruz.
He compared a statement by Fauci to King Louis XIV of France's famous words: "L'etat c'est moi" (I am the state).
Cruz was referring to when Fauci had said that criticism directed toward him was actually criticism of science, because "I represent science," he told CBS News' Margaret Brennan on Monday.
—Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 30, 2021
Fauci, also President Joe Biden's chief medical advisor, was responding to the political attacks initially made against him by Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, calling their words "nonsense" and "noise."
Paul has repeatedly called for Fauci to resign or be fired, claiming he had lied to Congress about US-funded research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology involving gain-of-function experiments. Cruz suggested US Attorney General Merrick Garland prosecute Fauci.
"I have to laugh at that. I should be prosecuted? What happened on January 6, senator?" said Fauci during the CBS interview.
When asked by Brennan if he felt he had been made a scapegoat by right-wing politicians to deflect criticism from former President Donald Trump, Fauci said: "Of course. You have to be asleep not to figure that one out."
"My job has been totally focused on doing what I can, with the talents and influence I had to make scientific advances to protect the health of the American public," he said.
"I'm just going to do my job, and I'm going to be saving people and they're going to be lying."
—Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) November 28, 2021
Cruz on Tuesday called Fauci's response a "Beavis and Butt-Head defense," referencing the adult comedy TV show about two teenagers prone to idiotic behavior.
"He just screams 'liars' at everything," said Cruz.
NIAID, Fauci, and Cruz did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.