• White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah distanced the Trump administration from Peter Navarro over the economic adviser's attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci
  • Navarro outlines periods during the coronavirus pandemic where the two found themselves at odds
  • The op-ed reflects reported tensions within the White House between Fauci and members of the Trump administration

The White House on Wednesday distanced itself from trade adviser Peter Navarro after he provided scathing criticism of infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci in an op-ed published Tuesday in USA Today.

White House director of strategic communications Alyssa Farah gave a short statement on Twitter disavowing Navarro's outlined position.

“Dr. Anthony Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public, but he has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on,” read Navarro's op-ed.

Navarro recounted moments where he and Fauci were on opposite sides of arguments, from halting flights from China in January to questioning the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment.

“Now Fauci says a falling mortality rate doesn’t matter when it is the single most important statistic to help guide the pace of our economic reopening,” read Navarro's opinion piece.

“So when you ask me whether I listen to Dr. Fauci’s advice, my answer is: only with skepticism and caution.”

The op-ed underscores what appears to be growing tensions between Fauci and members of the Trump administration over the handling of the pandemic. Fauci has made fewer media appearances while Trump has repeatedly called into question Fauci’s comments on the pandemic.

“First of all, the mortality rate, and Dr. Fauci is a nice man but he’s made a lot of mistakes,” Trump said during a Fox News interview released on July 9. “A lot of mistakes were made, a lot of mistakes. Let me just make one statement, we do testing like nobody’s ever done testing. And when we test, the more you test, the more cases you find.”

The same day as the interview, Fauci appeared on a FiveThirtyEight podcast where he said that partisanship has helped exacerbate the coronavirus pandemic.

“We live, I mean, you have to be having blindfolders on and covering your ears to think that we don’t live in a very divisive society now, from a political standpoint,” Fauci said. “I mean, it’s just unfortunate, but it is what it is. And you know, from experience historically, that when you don’t have unanimity in an approach to something, you’re not as effective in how you handle it. So I think you’d have to make the assumption that if there wasn’t such divisiveness, that we would have a more coordinated approach.”

White House trade advisor Peter Navarro, pictured in June 2020, alleges the apps funnel data to China
White House trade advisor Peter Navarro, pictured in June 2020, alleges the apps funnel data to China AFP / SAUL LOEB