Dr. Deborah Birx has been criticized for not contradicting Donald Trump firmly and clearly on many of his more outrageous COVID-19 claims. Now she’s defending the choice not to boldly stand up to his lies and unsupported ideas, saying that she was never trained to handle such a situation.
In the clip below, via The Recount, Dr. Birx tells ABC that people seemed to think she should have stood up and contradicted the then-president immediately, but that she didn’t know how to respond. “I was just not trained, in my years of training, to react that way.” She says she thinks about that moment every day.
Former WH COVID response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx on Trump’s “inject bleach” comment: “I still think about it every day.” pic.twitter.com/Umxvwzf8vs
— The Recount (@therecount) March 16, 2021
At the time, Trump floated the idea, saying, “Then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning?” As you can see in the video below, he then goes on to discuss the possibility of heat or light as a treatment, and specifically asks Birx if she’s ever heard of that.
“Not as a treatment,” she says, before explaining that fever is part of the body’s effort to kill viruses, then struggles to answer the primary question. “Not as…I’ve not seen…”
Trump turns away then to answer other questions, cutting Birx off before she can recover her composure enough to contradict him more starkly, if she intended to do so.
In December, before Trump left office, Dr. Birx announced that she was stepping down from her post on the White House Coronavirus Task Force. The BBC reports that this was due in part to criticism she had received for traveling to join a family get-together over Thanksgiving, after advising the rest of the nation not to join with others outside their immediate household.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com