Dan Scavino, President Donald Trump's longtime aide and deputy chief of staff for communications, posted a cartoon on his Facebook page on Monday night mocking Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The post features an image of Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert who's helping lead the federal government's coronavirus response, with a faucet coming out of his nose. The drawing shows Fauci's faucet drowning the US economy with orders of, "Schools stay closed this fall!", "Indefinite lockdown!", and "Shut up and obey!" in a cascade of "extra cold" water.
A cartoon Sen. Rand Paul, who has repeatedly attacked Fauci in congressional hearings, points at Fauci and yells, "Shut him off!!"
This comes after the White House sent reporters an anonymous statement over the weekend attacking Fauci and listing allegedly incorrect statements he made early this year about the pandemic.
"Sorry, Dr. Faucet!," Scavino wrote alongside the cartoon. "At least you know if I'm going to disagree with a colleague, such as yourself, it's done publicly and not cowardly, behind journalists with leaks. See you tomorrow!"
During Monday's White House briefing, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted that the White House isn't attempting to undermine Fauci and didn't produce "opposition research" on the public health expert.
"Why is the White House trashing Dr. Fauci?" CNN's Jim Acosta asked McEnany. "The president has gone off on anonymous sources in the past. Why not have the guts to trash Dr. Fauci with your own names?"
"Dr. Fauci and the president have always had a very goo working relationship," McEnany said.
Fauci has been publicly critical of the president's leadership in responding to the coronavirus and, as a result, has been sidelined by the president.
The public health expert said last week that Trump hadn't met with him since June 2 and that he hadn't been permitted to brief the president in over two months.
Fauci suggested he's being pushed aside and censored by the president and his aides because he's telling difficult truths about the US's out-of-control pandemic.
"I have a reputation, as you probably have figured out, of speaking the truth at all times and not sugar-coating things," he told the Financial Times. "And that may be one of the reasons why I haven't been on television very much lately."