For months, President Trump's trade adviser Peter Navarro has been a vocal critic of Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease official - including a heated White House showdown over the use of hydroxychloroquine.
On Tuesday, Navarro kicked it up a notch - penning a scathing Op-Ed in USA Today titled: "Anthony Fauci has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on."
The first few paragraphs are devastating:
Dr. Anthony Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public, but he has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on.
In late January, when I was making the case on behalf of the president to take down the flights from China, Fauci fought against the president’s courageous decision — which might well have saved hundreds of thousands of American lives.
When I warned in late January in a memo of a possibly deadly pandemic, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was telling the news media not to worry.
When I was working feverishly on behalf of the president 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.
When we were building new mask capacity in record time, Fauci was flip-flopping on the use of masks.
And when Fauci was telling the White House Coronavirus Task Force that there was only anecdotal evidence in support of hydroxychloroquine to fight the virus, I confronted him with scientific studies providing evidence of safety and efficacy. A recent Detroit hospital study showed a 50% reduction in the mortality rate when the medicine is used in early treatment. -Peter Navarro
On Wednesday, the White House sought to distance itself from Navarro's Op-Ed.
"The Peter Navarro op-ed didn’t go through normal White House clearance processes and is the opinion of Peter alone," tweeted White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah on Wednesday, adding "@realDonaldTrump values the expertise of the medical professionals advising his Administration."
The Peter Navarro op-ed didn’t go through normal White House clearance processes and is the opinion of Peter alone. @realDonaldTrump values the expertise of the medical professionals advising his Administration.— Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) July 15, 2020
But while the White House took a diplomatic approach to Navarro's Op-Ed, the Washington Post points out that President Trump disparaged Fauci during a Fox News interview last Thursday with Sean Hannity - saying that he "is a nice man, but he's made a lot of mistakes."
The Post also reports that Fauci and Trump haven't spoken in at least two weeks.
White House aides previously circulated talking points questioning statements Fauci has made about the novel coronavirus, which Navarro repeated in the article.
Among the criticisms listed by the White House officials and Navarro is that Fauci didn’t urge caution when the cases were first reported in China in January, that he gave varied advice on face masks and that he has said that he didn’t believe there was concrete scientific evidence to support that hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment against the coronavirus. -Washington Post
No wonder nobody knows what to believe.