The debate is not new in the coronavirus task force – and medical experts have repeatedly told the president that there is a risk of enthusiastically touting hydroxychloroquine in case the drug does not work ultimately to fight the virus. But other aides and outside advisers have sided with Trump, including Navarro, who is still not a formal member of the task force but got stuck in meetings.
Axios first reported on the White House disagreement over drugs.
While discussing the latest information on hydroxychloroquine over the weekend, an exasperated Navarro lambasted Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the advisers who urged caution over the drug, a person close to the meeting told CNN .
Navarro had brought a stack of documents with him to the drug situation room, arguing that it was proof that it could work to treat coronavirus, which Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, didn’t disagreed because it was not data.
” What are you talking about? Fauci asked – a question that sparked Navarro. He was indignant, and at one point accused Fauci of opposing Trump’s travel restrictions on China, which troubled many in the room, given that Fauci was one of the first to agree with Trump on the move, the source said.
A source close to the task force said that Fauci does not back away from his belief that hydroxychloroquine is not a proven treatment for coronavirus. When CNN’s Jeremy Diamond asked Fauci to comment on the question on Sunday evening, Trump intervened and did not allow Fauci to respond. But a source said the doctor has already given his opinion on the drug in other places and will continue to do so.
Several assistants later stated that they were not disturbed by the Navarro explosion, since he had them regularly. But the argument highlights the depth of the divide over the task force’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Another source told CNN that despite the situation room disagreement between Fauci and Navarro, Fauci continues to have a good relationship with Trump and Pence, although some staff members showed irritation when his opinions differ.