WH Trade Adviser Claims He’s Qualified To Speak On COVID-19 Treatment Because He’s A ‘Social Scientist’

White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro outside the White House on October 8, 2019. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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April 6, 2020 9:45 a.m.
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On Monday morning, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro argued that his background in social science means he has the aptitude for handling the COVID-19 outbreak.

CNN anchor John Berman asked Navarro about his stormy argument with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci at a Situation Room meeting, during which the adviser had insisted that a flawed study proved that hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, would treat COVID-19.

As Fauci pointed out in the meeting and in public, there is no hard data that hydroxychloroquine would be effective against the coronavirus.

“What are your qualifications to weigh in on medicine more than Dr. Anthony Fauci?” Berman asked Navarro on Monday. “Why should we listen to you and not Dr. Fauci?”

The adviser dug in his heels, saying that doctors “disagree about things all the time.”

“My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I’m a social scientist,” Navarro told the anchor. “I have a Ph.D., and I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it’s in medicine, the law, economics, or whatever.”

The White House official kept pushing the one unreliable study on hydroxychloroquine, arguing that “you could be a plumber and read that and come to the same conclusion.”

Watch Navarro below:

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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