The White House said on July 15 that officials weren't involved in vetting an op-ed from a President Donald Trump adviser that criticized U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The article, from trade adviser Peter Navarro, "didn’t go through normal White House clearance processes and is the opinion of Peter alone," Alyssa Farah, White House director of strategic communications, said in a statement.
Trump, she added, "values the expertise of the medical professionals advising his Administration."
The doctor, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), opposed Trump's decision to ban travel from China, Navarro said.
"When you ask me whether I listen to Dr. Fauci’s advice, my answer is: only with skepticism and caution," Navarro wrote.
The NIAID didn't immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
Criticism of Fauci by White House officials has noticeably increased in recent days.
Navarro issued a shorter statement disparaging Fauci over the weekend and Dan Scavino Jr., another White House official, shared a cartoon depicting Fauci as a spigot turned to cold. Pouring out of the spigot were phrases highlighting how Fauci is pushing against reopening schools and easing harsh lockdowns.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has argued during Senate hearings with Fauci about his advice to the public, is depicted on the side of the sink, calling to "shut him off!!"
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on July 13 that Fauci's viewpoint is taken into account, but so are those of other people on the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
"Dr. Fauci’s one member of a team, but rest assured, his viewpoint is represented and the information gets to the president through the task force," she said.