US infectious disease chief Dr Anthony Fauci is being targeted by the Trump administration as tensions rise between the health expert and the president.
The White House has been increasingly critical of Dr Fauci, and on Sunday, an official shared a list detailing past apparent erroneous comments.
Dr Fauci’s changing advice on masks and remarks on Covid-19‘s severity are among the points from the White House.
The move to undercut him comes as the US continues to see surges in Covid-19.
There are over 3.3 million cases confirmed and more than 135,000 deaths nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Dr Fauci has contradicted President Donald Trump’s comments on the pandemic a number of times, pushing back on the president’s claims that the outbreak is improving and attributing hasty state reopenings to the recent surges.
The White House memo leaked over the weekend had noted “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr Fauci has been wrong on things”.
Though the White House said Dr Fauci and Mr Trump have a “good working relationship” on Monday, Trump adviser Peter Navarro told CBS News: “When you ask me if I listen to Dr Fauci’s advice, my answer is only with caution.”
What has the White House said?
During a law enforcement event at the White House on Monday, Mr Trump said: “I have a very good relationship with Dr Fauci. I’ve had for a long time – right from the beginning.
“I find him to be a very nice person. I don’t always agree with him.”
The president added: “I get along with him very well. I like him personally.”
Mr Trump earlier on Monday retweeted comments from a game show host accusing “everyone”, including the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), of lying about the coronavirus.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany later told reporters Mr Trump still had confidence in the CDC and the tweet was meant to express his displeasure with “some rogue individuals” who leaked planning documents.
Echoing the contents of the anti-Fauci memo earlier, Mr Navarro, an economic adviser to Mr Trump, said Dr Fauci “has been wrong about everything I have ever interacted with him on”.
“When I warned in late January in a memo of a possibly deadly pandemic, Fauci was telling the media not to worry,” he said.
Mr Navarro said Dr Fauci fought against Mr Trump’s “courageous decision” to halt flights from China, initially said the virus was “low-risk” and “flip-flopped on the use of masks”.
“Now Fauci is saying that a falling mortality rate doesn’t matter when it is the single most important statistic to help guide the pace of our economic reopening.”