Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro had a “heated disagreement” in the Situation Room over the unproven COVID-19 anti-malarial drug chloroquine, which Donald Trump pushed at a press briefing on Saturday.
Trump says some remarkably irresponsible stuff about hydroxychloroquin: “What do you have to lose? Take it. I really think they should take it … try it, if you’d like.” pic.twitter.com/ULjKRfqEG5— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 4, 2020
Axios reports: “This drama erupted into an epic Situation Room showdown. Trump’s coronavirus task force gathered in the White House Situation Room on Saturday at about 1:30pm, according to four sources familiar with the conversation. Vice President Mike Pence sat at the head of the table. Numerous government officials were at the table, including Fauci, coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx, Jared Kushner, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, and Commissioner of Food and Drugs Stephen Hahn.”
Navarro reportedly passed out literature and touted the drug’s efficacy, which Fauci pushed back against, igniting the exchange, in which Fauci said more data is needed and Navarro pointed to his folders of literature. Navarro then accused a confused Fauci of objecting to Trump’s travel restrictions, which Fauci has praised. The argument turned heated as Mike Pence and Jared Kushner tried to cool it off.
Said a source to Axios: “There has never been a confrontation in the task force meetings like the one yesterday. People speak up and there’s robust debate, but there’s never been a confrontation. Yesterday was the first confrontation.”