A senior official for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that White House trade adviser Peter Navarro’s criticism of the agency's initial coronavirus testing response is actually a denunciation of President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger welcomes baby boy Tennessee lawmaker presents self-defense bill in 'honor' of Kyle Rittenhouse Five things to know about the New York AG's pursuit of Trump MORE.
"We should remind Mr. Navarro that the CDC is a federal agency part of the administration. The CDC director is an appointed position, and Dr. [Robert] Redfield was appointed by President Trump," the unidentified CDC official told CNN Sunday.
"If there is criticism of the CDC, ultimately Mr. Navarro is being critical of the President and the man who President Trump placed to lead the agency,” the official added.
Navarro earlier Sunday slammed the CDC’s handling of coronavirus testing on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Early on in this crisis, the CDC which really had the most trusted brand around the world in this space, really let the country down with the testing. Because not only did they keep the testing within the bureaucracy, they had a bad test. And that did set us back,” Navarro said.
CNN reported on Saturday that tensions were rising between the White House and the CDC, with senior administration and agency officials describing a growing sense of mistrust and animosity regarding how the U.S. should reopen and track coronavirus data.
Last week, The Associated Press reported the CDC issued a 63-page document regarding reopening guidelines that detailed more restrictions and indicated differences between the plan experts put forward and the one adopted by the White House.
Earlier this month, before the AP obtained and reported on the CDC guidelines, the White House said the document was a draft and not ready for release.
The reopening guidelines the White House released in April included some of the CDC guidance, the AP noted, adding that it placed most of the responsibility on governors and local officials.