(Natural News) The White House has walked back from its attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, following weeks of clashing with the administration over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The move comes after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro openly attacked Fauci in a scathing op-ed in USA Today. The article, published on Wednesday, is the latest – and the most public – move against the infectious disease chief by a government official.
“Dr. Anthony Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public, but he has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on,” Navarro wrote in his article.
President Donald Trump defended Fauci, saying that Navarro did not get approval or clearance from the White House to publish his piece.
“Well he made a statement representing himself,” Trump told reporters in a briefing Wednesday. “He shouldn’t be doing that. No, I have a very good relationship with Anthony.”
According to officials, Navarro ignored orders from White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to cease all criticism directed to Fauci. Speaking to reporters traveling on Air Force One on Wednesday, Meadows said that the article was a violation of protocol and that “[it] was not supported overtly or covertly by anyone in the West Wing.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also voiced his support for Fauci, saying that the attacks were “absolutely outrageous.”
“It’s one of the biggest mistakes, I think, that the administration has made throughout this entire coronavirus response, because Dr. Fauci is, in my opinion, the most respected guy in the administration, and the voice of truth and reason throughout this pandemic,” the governor added.
A rocky relationship in the middle of the pandemic
The White House’s defense of Fauci is the latest development in the tumultuous relationship between the Trump administration, which has been pushing for reopening the economy, and the infectious disease expert, who has been critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic. Last week, Fauci said that the U.S. wasn’t “doing great,” in terms of its handling of the pandemic – a statement that drew widespread criticism among officials. (Related: “Bad fall and bad winter” – Fauci warns second coronavirus wave “inevitable” if America reopens too soon.)
On Sunday, Adm. Brett Giroir, who leads the federal testing response, challenged Fauci’s claim, as well as his suggestion for new hotspots to return to lockdown.
“I respect Dr. Fauci a lot, but Dr. Fauci is not 100 percent right and he also doesn’t necessarily, and he admits that, have the whole national interest in mind,” Giroir told Meet the Press. “He looks at it from a very narrow public health point of view.”
Trump had also taken aim at Fauci in the past, saying that he disagreed with Fauci’s assessments.
“Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes,” he told Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been, until recently, a leading figure in the administration’s coronavirus response. He recently revealed that he has not met the president since June 2, and has not briefed him in over two months. However, he said that he was “sure” his recommendations to the president were passed on.
“I have a reputation, as you probably have figured out, of speaking the truth at all times and not sugar-coating things,” he added. “And that may be one of the reasons why I haven’t been on television very much lately.”
The U.S. still leads the global tally for coronavirus cases with 3,576,430 infections, as well as 138,360 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.