In an op-ed published Wednesday, top White House trade adviser Peter Navarro accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of being “wrong” in virtually all the determinations he made while coordinating the administration’s coronavirus response.
“Dr. Anthony Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public, but he has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on,” Navarro wrote in an op-ed published in USA Today.
White House communications director Alyssa Farah subsequently wrote on Twitter, “The Peter Navarro op-ed didn’t go through normal White House clearance processes and is the opinion of Peter alone. [President Trump] values the expertise of the medical professionals advising his Administration.”
The comments come after White House officials anonymously complained to the Washington Post that Fauci had made several erroneous statements on the coronavirus early on in the pandemic. These included statements minimizing the impact of asymptomatic spread of coronavirus, which were based on the history of other epidemics in which asymptomatic carriers did not play a crucial role in outbreaks.
President Trump has also openly criticized Fauci, telling Fox News‘ Sean Hannity, “he’s made a lot of mistakes.”
Navarro complained that Fauci had advised against a January travel ban on foreigners arriving from China. Navarro also wrote, “When I was working feverishly…in February to help engineer the fastest industrial mobilization of the health care sector in our history, Fauci was still telling the public the China virus was low risk.”
However, Navarro’s op-ed links to a February interview in which Fauci says, “The risk of coronavirus in this country is still relatively low, but, as I said about the possibility of emerging into a pandemic, this could change.” Fauci also warned in that same interview, “If China can contain their outbreak much better than they are and prevent wide distribution, we could avoid a global pandemic. If they don’t, we’re gonna have a global pandemic.”