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Trump angrily lashes out when confronted with critiques of coronavirus response

President Donald Trump’s contempt for science and disdain for experts who question his political narratives are driving his increasingly defensive and brittle management of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump was short-tempered and rude during much of his daily briefing on Monday as he refused to even listen to questions about shortcomings in the federal government effort. On Sunday, Trump 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. On Monday, the President 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.
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.
Navarro told CNN’s “New Day” on Monday that despite his lack of a medical education, he was competent to weigh in on the issue.
“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 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.
On the day when the US death toll passed 10,000 there was something surreal in watching the President’s outbursts, a familiar tactic that often pleases his political base and serves to portray himself as a victim of what he claims is a biased media.
CNN