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Tension, infighting roil Trump White House as coronavirus strategy sputters

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Differences over how to fight the coronavirus pandemic have sparked infighting and tension within the White House, hampering its response as the death toll mounts and President Donald Trump’s approval ratings fall.

Physicians on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, particularly its coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, are frustrated that warnings about rising cases are being ignored, and dismayed that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the renowned U.S. infectious disease expert, has been demeaned and disparaged, officials said.

Trump, who is trailing Democrat Joe Biden in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election in large part because of voter dissatisfaction with the president’s response to the coronavirus, is signaling a shift in strategy.

After months of reluctance to wear a face covering in public, on Monday he tweeted a picture of himself with a mask and said he planned to relaunch regular briefings about the pandemic.

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