White House trade adviser Peter Navarro enters the West Wing of the White House on July 8.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro enters the West Wing of the White House on July 8. Patrick Semansky/AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said the USA Today op-ed that was written by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was “a major mistake on their part.” 

Speaking to The Atlantic magazine on Wednesday, Fauci said, “I think if you sit down and talk to the people who are involved in that list that came out, they are really, I think, taken aback by what a big mistake that was.”

“If you talk to reasonable people in the White House, they realize that was a major mistake on their part, because it doesn’t do anything but reflect poorly on them,” he said.

The op-ed did not go through the normal sign-off process of being edited and approved by the White House press office, a White House official told CNN on Tuesday.

Fauci doesn’t think that was their intention, but said, “I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that. I think they realize now that that was not a prudent thing to do, because it’s only reflecting negatively on them.”

Fauci went on to say he has no explanation for Navarro: “He’s in a world by himself. So I don’t even want to go there.”

Clarification: Fauci spoke Wednesday with the Atlantic magazine.

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