‘With all due respect to Dr. Navarro, whose expertise is in other areas, he is woefully unqualified for this task…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Once again, a left-wing attempt to spin an anti-Trump narrative from the coronavirus response was debunked after President Donald Trump’s longtime economic adviser was revealed to have done a better job than media darling Dr. Anthony Fauci at predicting the pandemic’s toll.
Peter Navarro, the newly appointed policy coordinator for the Defense Production Act, has faced repeated smear attacks from the Left over his qualifications to join the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, in a bid to install a more favorable coronavirus response ‘czar’ and continue the sustained attack on Trump’s handling of the health crisis, openly questioned Navarro’s qualifications in a letter to the president last week.
“With all due respect to Dr. Navarro, whose expertise is in other areas, he is woefully unqualified for this task,” Schumer wrote.
The New York Democrat then resurrected a common trope—previously used in left-wing efforts to discredit Trump’s Ukraine policy during recent impeachment proceedings—that the president’s disdain for bureaucratic “deep-state” policy-makers had prompted him to establish a “shadow” government of his hand-picked advisers.
“The existence of a separate ‘shadow’ effort elsewhere in the White House has made the Administration’s response even more confused and uncoordinated,” Schumer claimed.
Schumer’s liberal media allies also picked up the narrative, particularly after Navarro was reported to have clashed with top disease expert Anthony Fauci, of the National Health Institutes, over the use of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus symptoms.
Outlets like CNN rallied behind Fauci, whose open disagreement with Trump has conveyed leftist folk-hero status onto him during the crisis, regardless of whether his stewardship has helped or compounded the crisis.
During a heated exchange on Monday, CNN’s John Berman rehashed the questions over Navarro’s qualifications.
Navarro defended his own expertise as a social scientist with an expertise in statistical analysis. He then rebuffed Berman’s attempt at creating a “false dichotomy” between the task force experts.
Navarro said members of the task force were in unanimous agreement about allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make the disputed drug more available in virus hot-zones.
But at the same time as some on the Left were continuing to cast aspersions on Navarro’s expertise, others were serving up a hefty plate of crow—acknowledging that Navarro had, in fact, been one of the key forces in encouraging Trump’s early response to the virus.
Both the New York Times and Axios conceded that Navarro had warned of the severity of the outbreak and its cost in a pair of memos while most policymakers—including Fauci—remained in wait-and-see mode.
The first memo, dated Jan. 29, estimated half a million American lives lost and a cost of close to $6 trillion. A few days after the memo, Trump closed down travel to and from China and first convened the Coronavirus Task Force.
Navarro—whose criticism of China in other areas has been well documented—issued a second memo in late February in which he ramped up the estimated death toll to 2 million. Shortly thereafter, Trump assigned Vice President Mike Pence to directly coordinate the virus response beyond medical preparations.
Meanwhile, a look back at the record revealed that Fauci—who supposedly issued prescient calls about the coronavirus outbreak that had gone unheeded by the administration—had, in reality, promoted little more than uncertainty about the dangers in late January.
“This is an evolving situation, and it’s tough to predict ultimately where it will go,,” he said, according to a CNN report on the efforts underway to find a vaccine. “…Is it a continual spread? Is it sustained? We’re not quite sure yet.”