US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has described recent efforts by the Trump administration to discredit him as “bizarre” and “nonsense”.
“Ultimately, it hurts the president to do that,” Dr Fauci said in an interview with The Atlantic. “It doesn’t do anything but reflect poorly on them.”
A rift has developed between the health expert and President Donald Trump over the US response to the Covid-19 crisis.
The White House has been critical of Dr Fauci as US cases continue to surge.
On Sunday, a White House official shared a list detailing past apparent erroneous comments by Dr Fauci, including what the statement said was conflicting advice on face coverings and remarks on Covid-19’s severity.
Responding to the criticism, Dr Fauci told The Atlantic that targeting him was “completely wrong”.
“I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that,” he said.
“I think they realise now that that was not a prudent thing to do, because it’s only reflecting negatively on them,” he added.
Dr Fauci’s comments come after reports that as of 15 July, US hospitals will have to report Covid-19 patient data to the federal health agency in Washington instead of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The CDC, the US’s top public health institute, has until now been responsible for handling data about the pandemic from its hospital network.
Health experts have expressed concerns that data will be politicised, become less transparent and possibly affect the work of researchers and modellers.
The US has reported more than 3.4 million cases of coronavirus, and more than 136,000 deaths nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.