File: US president Donald Trump.
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Monday took a swipe at health experts in his government leading the US response to the coronavirus.
One of them, Dr Anthony Fauci, answered with an appeal for states to stick to guidelines to snuff out a surge in cases.
The Republican president, seeking re-election in November, has been increasingly critical of government health officials and their guidance as a steady rise in infections threatens the easing of shutdown restrictions across the country.
Trump retweeted to his 83 million followers the accusations of a former game show host that "everyone is lying," including the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19. Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust," Chuck Woolery wrote Sunday night without citing evidence.
So based on Dr. Fauci and the Democrats, I will need an ID card to go shopping but not to vote?— Dr. Mark Young (@MarkYoungTruth) April 11, 2020
Last week, Trump said he thought CDC guidelines for schools reopening were too tough, impractical and expensive.
On Monday, Trump also retweeted an April post from Woolery's podcast co-host that Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wants to require "an ID card to go shopping." As the spread of the coronavirus accelerated months ago, Fauci said it was possible the United States could in the future issue a certification of immunity.
The White House did not respond to questions on whether the president believed the CDC was lying.
Fauci on Monday ascribed the surge in coronavirus cases to the country's failure to shut down completely, then a rush to reopen too soon, and urged a commitment to guidelines to rub out the disease.
Health officials and the CDC have pleaded with the public to wear masks to limit the spread of the virus, but the issue has become a politically divisive issue in the United States unlike in many other countries which have seen far lower rates of infection and death.
Trump wore a mask for the first time in public when he visited a Washington DC-area military medical centre on Saturday. He had previously refused to wear a mask in public or ask Americans to wear face coverings, saying it was a personal choice.