A top economic advisor for President Donald Trump is defending his argument that he is as capable of offering medical advice as Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Peter Navarro became embroiled in a fiery confrontation on CNN’s “News Day” Monday when he shared details about his reported heated argument with Fauci.
During the Situation Room dispute on Saturday, Navarro reportedly questioned Fauci’s medical expertise of the nation’s top infectious disease expert regarding hydroxychloroquine, an unproven drug to treat coronavirus.
He is now doubling down on his stance and support of the anti-malaria drug. Although Fauci has urged Trump and the CDC to proceed with caution in using the drug to combat the coronavirus outbreak, Navarro argues otherwise.
When CNN anchor John Berman asked if Fauci’s statements regarding the drug are wrong, Navarro immediately responded.
“So why is Dr. Anthony Fauci, the lead infectious disease doctor in the country, wrong about this, in your opinion?” Berman said.
“I would have two words for you: second opinion,” Navarro replied.
Berman quickly cut Navarro off to inquire about his qualifications and credibility.
“What are your qualifications to weigh in on medicines more than Dr. Anthony Fauci? Why should we listen to you and not Dr. Fauci?” Berman asked.
Navarro — who noted his background in social science — argued that his background is in economics and statistics. He also praised Dr. William Grace.
“My qualifications, in terms of looking at the science, is that I’m a social scientist,” Navarro said. “I have a Ph.D. And I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it’s in medicine, the law, economics or whatever.”
See Navarro’s interview below:
For Berman, Navarro’s qualifications do not align with Fauci’s medical and infectious disease experience. The discussion escalated when Berman argued that Navarro is not qualified to diagnose patients.
“I’m sorry, that doesn’t qualify you to treat patients,” Berman fired back. “You know it doesn’t qualify to you treat patients.”
However, Navarro did not back down. He noted Berman’s disapproval but asked if he would consider the drug if he were sick.
“I don’t know why you’re so hard about this,” Navarro said. “Would you take it if you got sick?”
Not deterred, Berman maintained his stance, saying, “I would listen to my doctor about whether or not I should take it.”
He added, “I would not listen to someone involved with trade policy.”
Watch: Peter Navarro pushes back against CNN anchor John Berman this morning over drug trials pic.twitter.com/LBzJNKMS2l— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) April 6, 2020
Despite the heated exchange, Navarro claimed coronavirus patients in New York are being treated with the drug. Although Fauci argues that the drug is still considered “unproven,” it is being used.
Navarro said, “All I’m asking for you to understand, John, is that right in your city, in the New York health and hospital system, virtually every patient getting presenting with COVID-19 symptoms is given hydroxy.”
Berman noted his conversation with Dr. Rob Gore — who is combatting the coronavirus in the United States’ epicenter New York. While Berman admitted that Gore did confirm the drug is being used to treat patients, he noted that they are unsure the medication actually works.
Hydroxychloroquine has not been proven to treat the coronavirus.