Trump trade official claims he's just as qualified to discuss medicine as Dr. Fauci

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Trump trade policy adviser Peter Navarro has been pushing the use of an experimental COVID-19 treatment. He is not a doctor.

A Trump trade adviser on Monday claimed to be a reliable source on an experimental drug treatment for COVID-19 because he has a doctorate in economics and can read studies.

The comment came during an interview on CNN, when anchor John Berman asked Trump adviser Peter Navarro why he's pushing the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.

Donald Trump and members of his administration such as Navarro have pushed for the use of the drug, even though doctors say the medicine is unproven and urge caution in adopting it for use against the coronavirus.

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"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 in live interview Monday morning.

Berman was referring to an Axios report from Sunday that said Navarro caused a fight with Fauci, his fellow coronavirus task force member, because Fauci thinks the drug needs testing before it can be promoted for use against COVID-19.

"Doctors disagree about things all the time. My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I'm a social scientist. I have a Ph.D., and I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it's in medicine, the law, economics, or whatever," Navarro said.

Navarro has a doctorate in economics from Harvard University.

Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, where he's led research on diseases "such as HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis and malaria as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika," according to his biography on the institute's website.

And Fauci said clinical trials are needed before he can say with certainty that the drug is safe.

"The president feels optimistic about something — his feeling about it," Fauci said at a March 20 White House news conference.

"What I'm saying is that it might be effective — I'm not saying that it isn't. It might be effective. But as a scientist, as we're getting it out there, we need to do it in a way that while we are making it available for people who might want the hope that it might work, you're also collecting data that will ultimately show that it is truly effective and safe under the conditions of COVID-19," Fauci explained.

Berman responded to Navarro's comments by saying, "I'm sorry, but that doesn't qualify you to treat patients."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.