The White House escalated its smear campaign against its own COVID-19 task force member, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Tuesday with a caustic USA Today op-ed about the doctor penned by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.
Navarro opens his op-ed with the claim that Fauci “has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on” with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The White House adviser proceeds to list examples of the doctor making assessments about the coronavirus when it first began to spread that were later proven wrong, which is hardly an anomaly in the early stages of scientific research.
“So when you ask me whether I listen to Dr. Fauci’s advice, my answer is: only with skepticism and caution,” Navarro wrote.
The op-ed comes several months after the official argued that his credentials as a “social scientist” meant he was just as qualified as Fauci to speak on treatment for COVID-19 because “I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it’s in medicine, the law, economics, or whatever.”
Incidentally, Navarro also ended up largely confirming in his column reports that he had written a memo to the White House in January sounding the alarm on the impending pandemic, a warning President Donald Trump had ignored while he was still publicly downplaying the outbreak. When the reports of Navarro’s warning emerged several months later, Trump claimed he hadn’t seen the memo.
Navarro’s op-ed is the White House’s most overt attempt to discredit Fauci thus far in its crusade against the doctor, which began on Sunday with a statement sent to the media that quoted an anonymous official claiming that “several” of his or her colleagues “are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.”
White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah attempted to distance the White House from Navarro’s screed on Wednesday morning, stating via Twitter that the op-ed “didn’t go through normal White House clearance processes and is the opinion of Peter alone.”
Trump “values the expertise of the medical professionals advising his Administration,” Farah claimed.
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied that the anonymous statement on Sunday was part of an opposition campaign against Fauci, insisting that “we provided a direct answer to what was a direct question.”
Yet Stephen Moore, who is on the White House’s economic advisory council on reopening the country, openly revealed on Tuesday that he’s in the process of putting together a new memo that he plans to send to Trump on “how many times” Fauci has been wrong “during his entire career.”
The White House’s attacks against Fauci come as the health official’s grave warnings on COVID-19 continue to undermine Trump’s efforts to play down the severity of the pandemic to salvage his reelection prospects.