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Fauci slams White House, Peter Navarro for trying to discredit him

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  • Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke out Wednesday against the White House’s attempts to discredit him.
  • “I think if you talk to reasonable people in the White House, they realize that was a major mistake on their part, because it doesn’t do anything but reflect poorly on them,” Fauci said. “I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would do that.”
  • He also singled out President Donald Trump’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro, saying, “I can’t explain [him]. He’s in a world by himself. So I don’t even want to go there.”
  • Fauci’s comments came after White House aides circulated a list of talking points over the weekend attacking him for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • “When the staff lets out something like that and the entire scientific and press community push back on it, it ultimately hurts the president,”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke out Wednesday against the White House’s attempts to discredit him and singled out President Donald Trump’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro.

“That is a bit bizarre,” Fauci told The Atlantic, referring to a list of talking points that Trump aides circulated over the weekend criticizing his handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Fauci is the US’s top infectious disease specialist and a member of the White House coronavirus task force.

“I think if you sit down and talk to the people who are involved in that list that came out, they are really, I think, taken aback by what a big mistake that was,” he told The Atlantic. “I think if you talk to reasonable people in the White House, they realize that was a major mistake on their part, because it doesn’t do anything but reflect poorly on them. And I don’t think that was their intention. I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that.”

Fauci added that he believes White House insiders realize now “that that was not a prudent thing to do, because it’s only reflecting negatively on them.”

He also went on to criticize Navarro, saying, “I can’t explain [him]. He’s in a world by himself. So I don’t even want to go there.”

The Atlantic’s interview was published after Navarro wrote a controversial op-ed in USA Today accusing Fauci of having “been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on.”

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

The White House later said it did not sign off on Navarro’s op-ed and that he violated protocol by publishing it.

On Wednesday, Fauci was asked about a meeting he had Monday with the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

He said he told Meadows that circulating the list of talking points “was not particularly a good thing to do” and that ultimately, doing so “hurts the president.”

“When the staff lets out something like that and the entire scientific and press community push back on it, it ultimately hurts the president,” Fauci said.

The talking points accused Fauci of not taking the coronavirus outbreak seriously enough early on and attacked him for releasing inaccurate information about asymptomatic transmission. They also accused him of shifting stances on lockdown measures and giving conflicting advice to the public.

But as The Washington Post and public health experts noted, the White House’s list omitted critical portions of Fauci’s comments, during which he emphasized that he was drawing conclusions based on the best available information at the time. He also said that the outlook could dramatically shift down the road as more information about the outbreak emerged.

Fauci told The Atlantic on Wednesday that Meadows offered “no apology” for the list and “said that he didn’t know about it.”

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