Trump adviser knocks Fauci: Wrong about ‘everything’
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Tuesday sharply criticized Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and a key member of the administration’s coronavirus task force.
In an op-ed published in USA Today, Navarro asserted that Fauci was “wrong about everything I have interacted with him on.”
The economic adviser pointed to Fauci’s past comments on using the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, comments about the falling mortality rate in the country and other remarks.
“So when you ask me whether I listen to Dr. Fauci’s advice, my answer is: only with skepticism and caution,” he wrote.
Navarro’s op-ed comes as the White House has gone public with its attacks against Fauci, who has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.
Dan Scavino, the White House deputy chief of staff for communications, shared a cartoon on his Facebook page on Sunday that depicted Fauci as a faucet flushing the economy down the drain.
Navarro, whom Trump selected to manage the use of the Defense Production Act, also said that he personally proceeds with caution before heeding Fauci’s advice.
Trump himself described Fauci in an interview as a “nice man” but said “he’s made a lot of mistakes.”
Fauci and other public health officials have advocated for a more cautious approach to reopening the country following shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, advice that administration and state leaders haven’t completely followed.
Trump and his economic advisers have called for reopening measures, despite surging cases in numerous states across the country, with record cases reported in the South and Southwest in recent weeks.
Navarro argued in his op-ed that Fauci was wrong to say there was only anecdotal evidence in support of using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.
In mid-June, the Food and Drug Administration ruled that it would withdraw emergency use authorization for the drug, citing at the time that data showed no difference in patients with COVID-19 who took the drug and those who did not.
Navarro wrote that he “confronted him with scientific studies providing evidence of safety and efficacy,” pointing to a Michigan study that tied lower death rates to use of the drug in treatment.
He also furthered a White House narrative that the declining mortality rate puts the country in a good place to continue reopening.
Fauci, who has decades of experience studying infectious diseases, has said the decline in mortality rate is because more young people are contracting the virus.
“Now Fauci says a falling mortality rate doesn’t matter when it is the single most important statistic to help guide the pace of our economic reopening,” Navarro wrote. “The lower the mortality rate, the faster and more we can open.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Monday insisted that Fauci’s recommendations on the pandemic are reaching the president and are one of many viewpoints he considers.
At a Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service event, Fauci said the public can trust him when he provides guidance on the coronavirus based on his track record.
“I believe, for the most part, you can trust respected medical authorities,” Fauci said Tuesday. “I believe I’m one of them, so I think you can trust me.”