Fauci calls White House effort to discredit him 'bizarre,' a mistake

By Doina Chiacu WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday he did not understand the White House effort to discredit him in the battle against coronavirus and believed it was a 'major mistake' that reflected poorly on them

Reuters July 16, 2020 01:10:52 IST
Fauci calls White House effort to discredit him 'bizarre,' a mistake

Fauci calls White House effort to discredit him bizarre a mistake

By Doina Chiacu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday he did not understand the White House effort to discredit him in the battle against coronavirus and believed it was a "major mistake" that reflected poorly on them.

The White House over the weekend distributed a list of statements Fauci made early in the pandemic that turned out to be wrong as understanding of the disease developed, according to media reports. Trump said this week he valued Fauci's input but did not always agree with him.

"You know, it is a bit bizarre. I don't really fully understand it," Fauci said in an interview with The Atlantic.

He said he believed the people involved in releasing that list, which was misleading because it did not include the entirety of Fauci's statements or other context, are really "taken aback by what a big mistake that was."

"I think if you talk to reasonable people in the White House they realise that was a major mistake on their part because it doesn't do anything but reflect poorly on them. And I don't think that was their intention," Fauci said.

"I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that," he said.

White House tensions with Fauci have risen with the decline of Trump’s popularity in opinion polls over the president’s handling of the outbreak.

The Republican president, who is seeking re-election in November, has been increasingly critical of government health officials and their guidance as a rise in infections threatens the easing of shutdown restrictions across the country.

The White House has denied Fauci, who is a trusted and popular figure among Americans, has been sidelined. However, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro wrote a critical opinion piece attacking Fauci for having made mistakes.

Before departing for a trip to Atlanta, Trump was asked whether Navarro had gone rogue.

"Well he made a statement representing himself. He shouldn't be doing that. No, I have a very good relationship with Anthony," Trump said.

"I can't explain Peter Navarro he's in a world by himself. So I don't even want to go there," Fauci told the Atlantic.

Fauci said in a Financial Times interview last week he had not briefed Trump in two months. He said on Wednesday his advice is passed onto Trump indirectly, via Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the White House coronavirus task force.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Howard Goller)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.