Republicans have long seen Fauci as a useful punching bag given the public’s fatigue with the coronavirus, and his standing as a health care adviser to President Biden has made him more of a partisan figure this year.
Cotton on Tuesday said, “Tony Fauci is nothing more than a Democratic operative,” a sentiment that appears to be growing in GOP circles.
Criticism of Fauci has served as a sure-fire way to rev up the GOP’s conservative base and appeal to former President Trump, offering an incentive for GOP senators with national ambitions to take their shots. Cotton is seen as a potential presidential candidate, while Paul was defeated in the 2016 GOP primary by Trump.
Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), another 2016 GOP presidential candidate who many think will run again, has led the GOP charge. As of Tuesday afternoon, he had tweeted or retweeted something critical about Fauci at least 20 times since Monday.