Succeeding in politics is often about seizing your moment, and junior Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall appears to be making his break. As is the often case with the modern GOP, Marshall’s big moment involves conspiracy theories, public histrionics, and a ruthless cash grab to milk prospective supporters out of every dime possible before they get bored and move on.
Earlier this month, Marshall got into a massive public spat with NIH Director Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Senate hearing, culminating in Fauci getting caught on a hot mic calling Marshall a “moron.” These public Jerry Springer episodes do little to nothing for the education or betterment of American voters, but they do make for good TV, which is why Marshall took the controversy and ran with it, announcing that he would introduce the Financial Accountability for Uniquely Compensated Individuals, or FAUCI Act, in order to require the “public access of financial disclosures on the official Office of Government Ethics (OGE) website for administration officials like Dr. Fauci.” All of this stems from Marshall’s original, and yes, moronic, line of questioning into Fauci’s financial disclosures, which are public (Marshall couldn’t find them online).
But wait — things get more pathetic from there. Marshall appeared on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast this week, according to Mediaite, where he accused Fauci of being part of the “Deep State.” Bannon asked him what his “end game” was, and Marshall responded:
“Steve, I think we’re over the target… And he is part of this Deep State that is actually lying or certainly misleading the public. So he lied to Congress and the American people at least three times during that last hearing and we proved him wrong.”
Great. That doesn’t really answer the question of what the end game is, but Marshall provided us with that information in a different way. As of this morning, Marshall is now selling screen printed T-shirts on his official campaign website that bear an image of Dr. Fauci and the caption “MORON.” The end game, as it so often is, is a cash grab. Marshall is going to ride this fight, and his new reputation as the far right’s latest Truth Crusader, into as many far-right media appearances as he can get and then funnel all that attention straight into his campaign coffers. It’s not exactly an original plan, but it’s a pretty effective one. There’s no way to tell how much money this whole manufactured controversy will rake in for Marshall until the next round of campaign financial disclosures (haha), but if he gets a few more hits like this over the next few years, his campaign war chest will look pretty good going into the 2026 midterms, when he’s up for re-election.
Everyone involved in this, from Marshall to Bannon to Fauci himself, probably knows the score. They know the game they’re playing. Fauci might be incentivized by some sense of duty to stay in the public eye to do his job, but he’s rarely hesitated to throw down with conservatives quickly looking to nab a few headlines. Ironically, the best thing he could do is just ignore them, and refuse the fight.