Washington, April 8 (IANS) US President Donald Trump was testy and rude at a presser as his alleged contempt for science and disdain for experts opposing his political actions seem to derail his narrative on the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump was testy during much of his daily briefing on Monday as he refused to even listen to questions about shortcomings in the federal government effort, CNN reported.
On Monday, Trump also blasted a report by an experienced Health and Human Services Department watchdog official that found critical supply shortages at hospitals all over the country, claiming it was politically motivated.
On Sunday, the President muzzled the country’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci before he could contradict his own gushing assessment of an unproven Covid-19 therapy.
Tensions between science and politics that lie at the core of the battle to eradicate the pandemic while still saving the economy will become even more acute as pressure grows inside the administration to reopen normal life.
Over the weekend, one of Trump’s economic advisers — Peter Navarro — clashed with Fauci over the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, the drug the President insists could save Covid-19 patients, according to people familiar with the disagreement.
“My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I’m a social scientist,” Navarro said in remarks that epitomized the administration’s lax respect for expertise. “I have a Ph.D. And I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it’s in medicine, the law, economics or whatever.”
When reporters tried to ask Fauci, who has previously expressed caution about the drug, about its uses at a briefing on Sunday, the President would not allow him to answer, saying he had tackled the question himself many times.
In one vital area of the pandemic response, Trump is still listening to the experts. He is sticking to advice given by Fauci and another top coronavirus task force member Dr. Deborah Birx to extend social distancing guidelines until April 30. The doctors last week presented dire warnings of several million deaths if he did not act.
But his feuds with reporters on other issues on Monday underscored his wider reluctance to allow inconvenient evidence to mar his cultivated picture of hugely successful leadership amid the worst domestic crisis since World War II.
“We are the federal government. We are not supposed to stand on street corners during testing,” he said, when confronted with questions about deficiencies in coronavirus testing.