“The lockdowns are a big part of this. … But also you have to imagine … who’s responsible,” Paul (R-KY) said Friday on Fox News‘s Ingraham Angle.
“In June of 2020, three months into this, I said, ‘We’ve got to go back to school,’ that it was a mistake to take the kids out of school because they weren’t becoming ill with COVID and they weren’t dying from COVID,” he told host Laura Ingraham.
The Kentucky senator said there’s “no secret” that Dr. Anthony Fauci, who most recently served as the chief medical adviser for President Joe Biden, played a “big part” in this by continuing to press for lockdowns in 2020 and for most of 2021.
“But who was also responsible for telling a 4-year-old that we need to talk about their gender and whether they’re in the appropriate body? Who’s talking about giving picture books to 6-year-olds with illustrations of surgery to remove their genitalia?” he asked.
“It’s Democrat politicians and woke left-wing people. There’s not one Republican,” Paul said.
The rivalry between Paul and Fauci has been brewing as Republican lawmakers are determined to hold the nation’s outgoing top doctor accountable for his role in the response to COVID-19.
The Republican senator said that while “Republicans are not perfect,” they weren’t pushing the same ideologies as the “crazy, left-wing Democrats.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed earlier this year that 44% of students reported being “persistently depressed” in 2021 and that they were unable to engage in regular activities.
Living through a public health emergency, especially with school lockdowns and relatively low social interaction, only exacerbated an existing mental health crisis among youth, according to the CDC.
Paul said it could have been avoided, touting Sweden’s response to the pandemic as the golden example.
“[They] kept their schools open, and not one child died that was going to school. They [also] didn’t wear masks in school, and still, not one child died in schools,” he said.
“The teachers didn’t get any sicker than in any other profession,” Paul added.
When asked about the marijuana industry and states that have softened their policies, Paul said while he isn’t an advocate of drug use, he does support having more information publicly available, including warnings for pills that look harmless.
“Kids will always make mistakes and try things, like drugs, but one of the things that’s killing them is one pill. It didn’t used to be,” he said, referencing pills that are often laced with other drugs, including fentanyl.
“We need to be telling kids that [just] because it looks like a pill, it looks like it came from a pharmacy, it didn’t. It came from the trunk of some idiot who flunked out of high school,” Paul said.