On July 14, USA Today published an op-ed by White House trade advisor Peter Navarro, who claims that NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci has been “wrong about everything I have interacted with him on.” As a preface to the op-ed, USA Today editorial page editor Bill Sternberg noted that while Navarro’s piece “did not meet USA Today’s fact-checking standards,” it was nevertheless judged to be newsworthy because it “expanded on [previous] comments, put an on-the-record name to the attacks on Fauci, and contradicted White House denials of an anti-Fauci campaign.”

In the op-ed, Navarro claims that Fauci’s “good bedside manner” has masked his inability to manage the COVID-19 outbreak. His evidence includes multiple false or misleading claims such as that Fauci did not support travel restrictions with China, disagreed with the use of masks and believes that falling mortality rates “don’t matter.” Navarro lambasts Fauci for his criticism of the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been used to treat the coronavirus; the medication has since been unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration.

In his closing line, Navarro states that he listens to Fauci’s advice “only with skepticism and caution.” Despite his outspokenness regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Navarro is an economist with no medical or epidemiological background. His other beliefs regarding the outbreak include that lockdowns will kill more Americans than the actual disease.

Since the op-ed was released, President Donald Trump has claimed that Navarro should not have published it. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows agreed that Navarro should not have published the op-ed before it was approved by the appropriate officials.


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