White House Trade Adviser Navarro Claims He Was Qualified to Disagree with Dr. Fauci on Coronavirus

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White House trade adviser Peter Navarro defended his decision to disagree with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on the unproven efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial, in treating coronavirus.

“Doctors disagree about things all the time. My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I’m a social scientist,” he told CNN’s John Berman. “I have a Ph.D. And I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it’s in medicine, the law, economics or whatever.”

“That doesn’t qualify you to treat patients,” Berman responded.

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Navarro’s comments come after Axios reported about the confrontation between Fauci and Navarro, which took place during a meeting in the White House Situation Room.

“And the first words out of his [Navarro’s] mouth are that the studies that he’s seen, I believe they’re mostly overseas, show ‘clear therapeutic efficacy,'” said a source familiar with the conversation. “Those are the exact words out of his mouth.”

Fauci disagreed, noting that there is only anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine can treat coronavirus. “That’s science, not anecdote,” Navarro retorted, before falsely accusing Fauci of objecting to President Donald Trump’s decision to restrict travel from China, where the coronavirus originated.

“There has never been a confrontation in the task force meetings like the one yesterday,” said a source familiar with the argument. “People speak up and there’s robust debate, but there’s never been a confrontation. Yesterday was the first confrontation.”