White House trade adviser Peter Navarro's rebuke of Dr. Anthony Fauci was out of line, according to President Donald Trump.
"He made a statement representing himself; he shouldn't be doing that," Trump told reporters before leaving the White House on Wednesday. "No. I have a very good relationship with Anthony."
Navarro took Fauci to task in an op-ed in the USA Today on Tuesday.
"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's critique began. "In late January, when I was making the case on behalf of the president to take down the flights from China, Fauci fought against the president's courageous decision — which might well have saved hundreds of thousands of American lives.
"When I warned in late January in a memo of a possibly deadly pandemic, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was telling the news media not to worry."
Trump rejected Navarro's attack on the NIH director, saying his administration is on the same page and he maintains a good working relationship with one of the leaders of the White House coronavirus task force.
"We're all on the same team, including Dr. Fauci," Trump told reporters. "I have a very good relationship with Dr. Fauci and we're on the same team. We want to get rid of this mess that China sent us, so everybody's working on the same line and we're doing very well."
Fauci, however, told The Atlantic on Wednesday, efforts to discredit him are actually discrediting the Trump administration, calling the actions "bizarre."
"Ultimately, it hurts the president to do that," Fauci said. "When the staff lets out something like that, and the entire scientific and press community push back on it, it ultimately hurts the president."
Navarro, a notorious China hawk, is "in a world by himself," Fauci struck back.
"I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that," Fauci told The Atlantic. "I think they realize now that that was not a prudent thing to do, because it’s only reflecting negatively on them.
"I can't explain Peter Navarro. He's in a world by himself."
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