Mark Meadows has strongly criticized Dr. Anthony Fauci after the infectious diseases expert compared Covid-19 to the Spanish Influenza that swept the world in 1918.
The White House chief of staff objected to the comparison and became the latest administration official to publicly attack Fauci.
“He was at Georgetown the other day and he suggested that this virus was worse or as bad as the 1918 flu epidemic,” Meadows told Fox News.
“And I can tell you that not only is that false, it is irresponsible to suggest so.”
Moments earlier, Meadows had criticized economic adviser Peter Navarro for an op-ed attacking Fauci.
“Listen, we all say things and do things that we wish that we hadn’t done,” he said.
“My understanding is Dr. Fauci is walking that back and telling the American people that that was not accurate and not based on science.”
There is as yet no evidence that Fauci has walked back the comparison, which he made on Tuesday. Fauci called Coronavirus a “pandemic of historic proportions.”
“Right now if you look at the magnitude of the 1918 pandemic where anywhere from 50 to 75 to 100 million people died, I mean that was the mother of all pandemics and truly historic,” Fauci said.
“I hope we don’t even approach that with this, but it does have the makings of the possibility of […] approaching that in seriousness, though I hope that the kinds of interventions that we’re going to be, and are implementing would not allow that to happen.”
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media