Tuesday evening online and Wednesday morning in print, the Editorial Board published an Our View editorial that praised Dr. Anthony Fauci as a “national treasure” and sharply criticized recent White House efforts to undermine or sideline him.
As is our longstanding tradition, to give our readers another point of view, we reached out to White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who has been critical of Fauci. Navarro provided a response that was published as an Opposing View paired with our editorial. We dealt directly with Navarro and do not know whether he spoke to anyone else at the White House about his statement.
Navarro’s response echoed comments made to other news outlets in recent days. We felt it was newsworthy because it expanded on those comments, put an on-the-record name to the attacks on Fauci, and contradicted White House denials of an anti-Fauci campaign.
However, several of Navarro’s criticisms of Fauci — on the China travel restrictions, the risk from the coronavirus and falling mortality rates — were misleading or lacked context. As such, Navarro’s op-ed did not meet USA TODAY’s fact-checking standards.
— Bill Sternberg, USA TODAY editorial page editor
Dr. Anthony Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public, but he has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on.
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.
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When I was working feverishly on behalf of the president in February to help engineer the fastest industrial mobilization of the health care sector in our history, Fauci was still telling the public the China virus was low risk.
When we were building new mask capacity in record time, Fauci was flip-flopping on the use of masks.
And when Fauci was telling the White House Coronavirus Task Force that there was only anecdotal evidence in support of hydroxychloroquine to fight the virus, I confronted him with scientific studies providing evidence of safety and efficacy. A recent Detroit hospital study showed a 50% reduction in the mortality rate when the medicine is used in early 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. The lower the mortality rate, the faster and more we can open.
So when you ask me whether I listen to Dr. Fauci’s advice, my answer is: only with skepticism and caution.
Peter Navarro, an assistant to the president, is the director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. (Parts of this statement were shared with other news organizations. The Food and Drug Administration has revoked its approval for treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine.)
- Published 8:05 PM EDT Jul 15, 2020