McConnell expresses confidence in Fauci's expertise and urges Republican men to get the COVID-19 vaccine

a man wearing a suit and tie: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
  • McConnell on Monday defended Fauci's expertise amid ongoing attacks from Republicans.
  • "He's the most reliable witness I've seen," McConnell said.
  • The Senate Minority Leader also called on GOP men to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday expressed confidence in Dr. Anthony Fauci's medical expertise after consistent attacks from Republicans, and urged GOP men to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

At an event in Kentucky, McConnell was asked if he still had "total" confidence in Fauci - the top infectious disease expert in the US and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden.

"I think he's the principal person we've relied on the last couple of years, that's become somewhat controversial, I gather," McConnell said of Fauci. "But, we have to take advice from somebody and ... he's the most reliable witness I've seen."

-ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) April 5, 2021

Fauci, who's advised seven presidents, has been one of the most trusted voices in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But he's also been the target of attacks from top Republicans on a number of occasions, a trend that has escalated in recent weeks. Former President Donald Trump frequently went after Fauci and contradicted his medical advice, and many of Trump's top allies have followed suit.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, for example, recently called on Fauci to visit the US-Mexico border to witness what he described as the nation's "biggest super spreader event." This came amid escalating Republican criticism of Biden's handling of a historic number of migrant arrivals at the border.

During an interview with Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto on Friday, Fauci said he found the GOP attacks on him a "little bizarre."

"I've become sort of, for some reason or another, a symbol of anything they don't like," Fauci said.

As McConnell defended Fauci on Monday, he also reiterated a call for Republican men to get vaccinated for COVID-19 amid ongoing hesitancy from this demographic.

-ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) April 5, 2021

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey released in mid-March found 49% of Republican men said they did not plan to get vaccinated, and other polling has shown skepticism of the shot among GOP voters.

"I saw on some program last week that Republican men, curiously enough, might be reluctant to take the vaccine. I'm a Republican man and I want to say to everyone, we need to take this vaccine," McConnell said. "If we're going all really be back to normal by this summer, we still have a way to go here in Kentucky and all across America to get those shots in arms over the next few months."

McConnell expresses confidence in Fauci's expertise and urges Republican men to get the COVID-19 vaccine