WHITE House aides have branded Dr Anthony Fauci as "Dr Faucet" – but President Donald Trump has insisted they get along "very well."
The White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, Daniel Scavino, took to Facebook on Sunday to ridicule Dr Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Scavino's post read: "Sorry, Dr. Faucet! 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!"
Along with his statement, he shared an illustration by political cartoonist Ben Garrison.
The cartoon depicted Dr Fauci as a sink faucet with "extra cold" water coming out of his nose, filling up the sink, and going down the drain.
What appears to be Uncle Sam, with a top hat that says USA and "economy" written across his body, is seen feet first in the drain with a panic-stricken face.
Written in the water were the following phrases: "Shut up and obey," "indefinite lockdown," "schools stay closed this fall," and "no NFL season."
Senator Rand Paul was also drawn, holding onto the sink with one hand, pointing to fauci with the other, and saying: "Shut him off!"
Two weeks ago, Sen. Paul told Dr Fauci that "optimism" was the key to fighting coronavirus as the contagious disease continues to spread.
The Kentucky senator disagreed with the doctor's opinion on sports, the difficulty of herd immunity, and the extent of the contagion in the United States.
The cartoon comes as White House officials have reportedly released a list of all the times Dr Fauci has been wrong about the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump's administration is clashing with the top disease expert as the pandemic continues to surge across United States, however, the president insisted on Monday: "I get along with him very well and like him."
Speaking at a July 13 press conference, Trump called Fauci "a very nice person" despite their differences, according to a tweet by Mark Knoller CBS News White House Correspondent.
Fauci, 79, has recently been critical of the way the Trump administration has handled the coronavirus - with reports him and Trump have not spoken in two months.
President Trump took to Twitter on Monday to retweet a post accusing the CDC, media, and doctors of lying about the COVID-19 pandemic from conservative commentator Chuck Woolery.
Trump also retweeted a post from Woolery's podcast co-host, Mark Young, accusing Dr Fauci of wanting to require "an ID card to go shopping."
Woolery, who has been a host for gameshows like Wheel of Fortune and Love Connection as well as a longtime voice in the conservative community, took to Twitter to express his thoughts on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19. Everyone is lying," he wrote.
"The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust. I think it's all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I'm sick of it."
Despite Trump and Fauci reportedly not speaking, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox & Friends on Monday: "The point of the task force is to be a whole of government look at what's best for the country.
"Dr. Fauci's one member of a team, and rest assured the information gets to the president through the task force."
Last week, the President said Dr Fauci "is a nice man, but he's made a lot of mistakes."
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The US recorded a record more than 70,000 cases per day on July 10, but the number has since fallen to around 60,000.
Trump donned a mask for the first time over the weekend as the US continues to suffer - with cases hitting 3,414,105 and the death toll reaching 137,787.