Coronavirus testing czar pushes back after Trump targets health officials: 'None of us lie'

Coronavirus testing czar pushes back after Trump targets health officials: 'None of us lie'
© Reuters/Pool

The official leading the Trump administration's coronavirus testing efforts on Tuesday rebuffed the notion that health experts are lying after President TrumpDonald John TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled MORE retweeted a Twitter post saying that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others were spreading falsehoods about the virus. 

"We may occasionally make mistakes based on the information we have, but none of us lie," Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, said on NBC's "Today." "We are completely transparent with the American people, and my experience on the task force is that the vice president and everyone there has been completely transparent."

The comments from Giroir came a day after Trump retweeted a series of Twitter posts from former game show host Chuck Woolery about the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. In one, Woolery said that "the most outrageous lies" are the ones about COVID-19, claiming that the CDC, the media, Democrats and some doctors were among those spreading them.

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The tweet served as the latest instance of Trump publicly breaking with his own top health officials amid the global pandemic, which has infected more than 3 million people in the U.S. and accounted for more than 135,000 deaths. 

Giroir said he doesn't spend much time looking at Twitter "because who knows what it means and how it’s interpreted?" But he stressed that the White House coronavirus task force has been transparent about every element of the outbreak. 

"That’s my job as a public servant. We take that as a sacred oath, to be honest and to let the American people know what’s going on," he said.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a press conference Monday that Trump still has confidence in the CDC, adding that his retweet was directed at "rogue individuals" within the agency. She pointed to CDC documents that have leaked before being finalized, claiming that the president thinks such an action "misleads the American public."

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"The notion of the tweet was to point out the fact that when we use science, we have to use it in a way that’s not political," McEnany added.

The Trump administration has also appeared to ramp up its efforts to push back on the guidance offered by Anthony FauciAnthony FauciTrump: 'Fake News' not reporting 'big China Virus breakouts all over the World' Trump challenges Fauci over comments on coronavirus surges: 'Wrong!' Experts fear political pressure on COVID-19 vaccine MORE, a top infectious disease expert who has become one of the faces of the U.S. response to the pandemic. Over the weekend, officials circulated to multiple news outlets a list of what they said were inaccurate statements Fauci has made amid the health crisis. 

Disagreements between the Trump administration and health experts have increasingly spilled out into the open this month as the president and other officials push for the reopening of in-person classes at schools in the fall. Trump complained last week that the CDC's initial guidelines for reopening schools were too "tough & expensive."

While appearing on "Meet the Press," Giroir also said that Fauci's health recommendations were not "100 percent right."

"I respect Dr. Fauci a lot, but Dr. Fauci is not 100 percent right, and he also doesn’t necessarily — and he admits that — have the whole national interest in mind. He looks at it from a very narrow public health point of view," he said.