News and Commentary

Trump Bashes Dr. Birx: She ‘Took The Bait And Hit Us’
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 17: (L-R) U.S. President Donald Trump looks on as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx speaks about the coronavirus outbreak in the press briefing room at the White House on March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Trump administration is considering an $850 billion stimulus package to counter the economic fallout as the coronavirus spreads. (Photo by
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

President Trump on Monday said White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx “took the bait and hit us” after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Birx was presenting an overly optimistic picture of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Sunday, Birx said the pandemic is “different” than it had been and has become “extraordinarily widespread.”

“So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics. In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!” Trump wrote on Twitter Monday morning.

Birx, who began serving as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator after she was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2014, was responsible for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program in 65 countries that supports HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs. But she now serves on Trump’s White House task force, which prompted Pelosi to say she has lost all confidence in the doctor.

“I think the president is spreading disinformation about the virus, and she is his appointee, and so I don’t have confidence there, no,” Pelosi said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

In a piece posted Friday by Politico, headlined “Pelosi trashes Birx,” the political website said the Speaker has been privately bashing the award-winning immunologist.

“Deborah Birx is the worst. Wow, what horrible hands you’re in,” Pelosi reportedly said in a private meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Munchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. “She accused BIRX of spreading disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic while praising ANTHONY FAUCI, who she said ‘came to his senses, and is now a hero,'” Politico reported.

Birx responded diplomatically on Sunday, saying she had “tremendous respect for the Speaker.” But she blasted a New York Times report that described Pelosi as saying Birx had embraced overly optimistic assessments on the virus.

“I have tremendous respect for the Speaker, and I have tremendous respect for her long dedication to the American people, and I think it was unfortunate that the New York Times wrote this article without speaking to me,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I could have brought forth the data. I provide data every single day with an analysis.”

“This was not a pollyannish view. I’ve never been called pollyannish, or non-scientific, or non-data driven,” Birx said. “I will stake my 40-year career on those fundamental principles of using data to implement better programs and save lives.”

In her CNN appearance, Birx said SARS-CoV2, which causes COVID-19, is more widespread than when it first began sweeping across the nation.

“What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas,” Birx said.

“To everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus,” Birx said. “If you’re in multi-generational households, and there’s an outbreak in your rural area or in your city, you need to really consider wearing a mask at home, assuming that you’re positive if you have individuals in your households with comorbidities.”

Birx also blamed public events for the spread. “It’s not super spreading individuals, it’s super spreading events and we need to stop those. We definitely need to take more precautions,” she said.

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