Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony FauciReuters

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease official, on Tuesday accused Republican Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky of spreading misinformation that has sparked threats of violence against him and his family, Reuters reported.

At a Senate health committee hearing, Fauci said Paul was focused on misinformed attacks rather than oversight aimed at addressing the health care crisis. Paul has been openly critical of Fauci in television interviews and on Tuesday accused Fauci of smearing other scientists who disagreed with him.

Fauci said Paul was distorting the truth.

"There you go again, you just do the same thing every hearing," he told the senator, according to Reuters, accusing him of making personal attacks that had no relation to reality. '

"He's doing this for political reasons," Fauci continued, pointing to fundraising appeals on Paul's website next to a call to have Fauci fired.

"It distracts from what we're all trying to do here today, (which) is get our arms around the epidemic and the pandemic that we're dealing with, not something imaginary," Fauci said.

"What happens when he (Paul) gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue is that all of a sudden, that kindles the crazies out there and I have ... threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children," he added.

Paul accused Fauci of making personal attacks against him and said no one wished violence on Fauci.

Paul is a supporter of former President Donald Trump, with whom Fauci had a contentious relationship. Trump reportedly at one point considered demoting the top doctor after he criticized his policies.

Last October, Trump was heard criticizing Fauci in a call with campaign staffers, suggesting he was an "idiot" and saying, "He's been here for, like, 500 years.”