CPAC 2023: Schmitt says Fauci once yelled at court reporter for sneezing

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

Recently sworn-in Missouri Sen. Eric Schmitt might be new to the U.S. Senate, but he proved he knows where his base’s passions lie. 

Thursday, during his speech at CPAC, Schmitt demonstrated that conservative anger over the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic – at Dr. Anthony Fauci – has not abated. 

Schmitt, a former Missouri attorney general who won the right to depose numerous national health officials, used Fauci as a rhetorical punching bag for most of his speech and labeled the recently retired director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as an unelected tyrant bent on control. 

This was hardly a novel claim, but Schmitt offered a new wrinkle – anecdotes Schmitt said were drawn from the Fauci deposition. 

As of today, it’s impossible to know if Schmitt’s characterization of the story is accurate, but his retelling seems to have been taken as plausible by CPAC attendees. 

“In the middle of that deposition, I’m kidding you not, a court reporter sneezed,” Schmitt said. “What did Anthony Fauci do? He demanded that she wear a mask. I am not making this up. This was just a couple of months ago, and this is the temperament, by the way, of the guy who was in charge of all of this, who wanted power and control — a guy who claimed he was the science.”

Schmitt was referring to an interview Fauci gave to CBS’s “Face the Nation” program in 2021. It was during this interview that Fauci remarked that people who spoke ill of him were “criticizing science, because I represent science.” 

Fauci has said that these comments were taken out of context. 

Unsurprisingly, the topic of masks also came up during the Schmitt speech. 

“When he was privately messaged in an email – [which] we confronted him with – by a colleague in early 2020 about whether she should wear a mask on a plane or not, he said they were ineffective,” Schmitt said, again referring to the deposition. “But for the rest of us, we were required to wear them on planes, and our kids had to wear masks in schools all day long,” 

Although criticizing Fauci was the central theme of the speech, Schmitt’s call to action was that Fauci, though bad, exemplified the importance of freedom of expression in the United States. 

Schmitt accused Fauci of inspiring social media companies to crack down on users who posted messages contradictory to U.S. health officials’ directives. 

“When Fauci speaks, Big Tech censors, and this can never happen again,” Schmitt said. 

The senator received substantial applause when he remarked, “We — conservatives, the people in this room — we have to be the guardians of free speech. That is our vision. That is our goal. If you control the flow of information to limit speech, you can control [us], and that’s exactly what their aim is: power and control.” 

Schmitt has been one of the more active new senators on either side of the aisle. As previously reported by FISM, he has been active in Republican efforts to sever the link between the federal government and big tech companies.