A senior White House official attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci in a new op-ed, continuing an effort by President Donald Trump and his allies to discredit the infectious diseases expert as COVID-19 infections and deaths soar.
Top trade adviser Peter Navarro wrote a brief op-ed published Tuesday in USA Today headlined, “Anthony Fauci has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on.”
The column adds to an ongoing White House smear campaign against Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and has been the government’s leading voice admonishing Americans to take the coronavirus seriously.
On Wednesday, White House communications official Alyssa Farah said the op-ed was Navarro’s personal opinion and “didn’t go through normal White House clearance processes.” The trade adviser “went rogue,” Politico reporter Jake Sherman said on MSNBC, citing an anonymous White House official.
The White House, through unnamed officials, has in recent days been trying to discredit Fauci by cherry-picking statements he made about the novel coronavirus earlier in the year, when much was unknown. In the months since, as Trump and his followers have urged states to lift precautions and reopen businesses, Fauci has continued to advise caution.
The White House has also limited Fauci’s television interviews. Fauci, known for his blunt and honest analysis, has largely gone missing from the major TV networks, appearing instead on podcasts, livestreams and other smaller outlets with his message urging Americans to heed social distancing precautions and wear face masks.
Coronavirus infections and deaths are surging in many parts of the U.S. ― especially in states that bowed to Trump’s pressure ― while other countries have largely contained the pandemic.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.