Top virus official Birx is new target for Trump
Written by Sunlight Radio America on August 5, 2020
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump further disparaged his senior health advisers on Monday even as the pandemic deepened its hold on the nation, as the White House’s top coronavirus coordinator, Deborah Birx, joined Anthony Fauci and other scientists on the receiving end of the president’s ire.
Birx – who built a career leading public health efforts against HIV/AIDS – quickly garnered Trump’s favor earlier this year for publicly championing the administration’s coronavirus response, becoming a prominent figure inside and outside the White House.
But she soon lost support within swaths of the scientific and medical community for seeming to minimize the virus and to enable Trump’s rosy view of the pandemic. This past weekend, Birx lost the backing of the nation’s top Democrat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, who privately called Birx “the worst” and publicly said she had no confidence in her.
On Monday morning, Birx appeared to lose ground with perhaps her most important constituency, Trump himself, who dismissed her as “pathetic.”
“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,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!”
Trump was especially incensed that she did not strike a more optimistic tone about states that are doing well and by her praise for Pelosi, an ardent Trump critic, said one senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of private discussions. When asked about Pelosi’s lack of confidence in the handling of the pandemic, Birx replied, “I have tremendous respect for the speaker. And I have tremendous respect for her long dedication to the American people.”
In the interview, she also did not rule out the possibility that the nation’s coronavirus death toll could double by the end of the year to 300,000 and seemed to suggest that, contrary to the president’s stated desires, some schools should offer only distance learning this fall.