On Tuesday night, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro —whom Donald Trump affectionately calls " my Peter "—decided to dump gasoline on a smoldering fire when he sent USA Today a statement that it published as an op-ed in which he slammed Dr. Anthony Fauci for standing in the way of "the president's courageous decision" making on the COVID-19 pandemic. Having just downplayed the significance of anti-Fauci talking points that they themselves had sent to media outlets, members of the White House press office were left, once again, to repair the residual damage, insisting that the USA Today opinion piece didn't go through the "normal White House clearance processes." But the fact that Navarro didn't get official clearance for his statement was largely an irrelevant point. After all, he didn't need it. According to three individuals familiar with the matter, in the past few months Trump has privately encouraged multiple senior officials and allies, including Navarro, to remind journalists and the American public of how Fauci has been "so wrong"—in the president's phrasing—in some of his predictions about the coronavirus pandemic. Navarro hadn't "gone rogue," as one White House official put it. He'd performed the precise task that many in… Read full this story
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