Peter Navarro on his qualifications to disagree with Dr. Anthony Fauci on coronavirus treatments: ‘I’m a social scientist’

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who will now serve as national defense production act policy coordinator, walks from the podium after speak about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room, Friday, March 27, 2020, in Washington. Watching as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue watch. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

(CNN) -- White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Monday said he was qualified to engage and disagree with Dr. Anthony Fauci on the use of an anti-malarial drug as a coronavirus treatment -- which is not yet proven as effective -- saying, "I'm a social scientist."

"Doctors disagree about things all the time. My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I'm a social scientist," he told CNN's John Berman on "New Day." "I have a Ph.D. And I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it's in medicine, the law, economics or whatever."

Heated disagreement breaks out in Situation Room over hydroxychloroquine

Navarro's remarks follow reports that he clashed with officials in the Situation Room over the weekend about the unproven efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in treating coronavirus. While discussing the latest on the anti-malaria drug, an exasperated Navarro lashed out at Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, who has urged caution around the drug, a person familiar with the meeting told CNN.

US, UK brace for soaring death tolls as pandemic bears down

Axios first reported on the disagreement inside the White House about the drug.

This story is breaking and will be updated.