- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 15, 2020

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said in a new opinion piece that Dr. Anthony Fauci has been wrong “about everything I have interacted with him on.”

The public denunciation of a fellow administration official prompted the White House to distance itself from Mr. Navarro’s comments approximately 12 hours after the piece first published.

Mr. Navarro pointed to past comments from Dr. Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious diseases expert, in which he fought President Trump’s early push to shut down travel from China and downplayed the threat of the coronavirus in January.

“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. The lower the mortality rate, the faster and more we can open,” Mr. Navarro said in an opinion piece published Tuesday evening in USA Today.

“So when you ask me whether I listen to Dr. Fauci’s advice, my answer is: only with skepticism and caution,” he said.

Asked if he was OK with the op-ed, Mr. Trump said Wednesday that he gets along “very well” with Dr. Fauci.

“That’s Peter Navarro, but I have a very good relationship with Dr. Fauci,” the president told reporters at the White House.

A White House spokeswoman had said earlier Wednesday morning the op-ed didn’t go through the normal clearance processes “and is the opinion of Peter alone.”

“@realDonaldTrump values the expertise of the medical professionals advising his Administration,” Alyssa Farah, the White House director of strategic communications, said on Twitter.

Doug Heye, a former House Republican leadership aide, said on Twitter, “If Navarro is not fired, then the normal White House clearance process is a wink and a nod.”

Mr. Navarro’s on-the-record denunciation of Dr. Fauci came a day after the White House denied that officials were leaking information as part of a smear campaign to undermine him.

Asked who the public can trust during the current pandemic, Dr. Fauci said on Tuesday that people can trust “respected medical authorities” for the most part.

“I believe I’m one of them, so I think you can trust me,” he said at an event hosted by Georgetown University.

Dave Boyer contributed to this report.

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