WASHINGTON — Dr. Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator for the COVID-19 task force formed under the Trump administration, said she was “paralyzed” by former President Donald Trump’s infamous speculation in 2020 on the treatment of coronavirus by injection of disinfectant.
“I just wanted it to be ‘The Twilight Zone’ and just go away,” Birx told ABC’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton on Sunday of Trump’s remarks. “I mean, I just – I could just see it all unfolding in that moment.”
“I was paralyzed in that moment because it was so unexpected,” she added. “I could have stood up and probably stood between the scientists and the president and said what I said later: not a cure.”
Birx spoke with Ashton ahead of the Tuesday release of her new book, “Silent Invasion: The Untold Story of the Trump Administration, COVID-19, and Preventing the Next Pandemic Before It’s Too Late.” In it, the global medical expert with pandemic experience on the ground said she was unprepared for the political atmosphere in the Trump White House, in which she was constantly sidelined.
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Birx said she and the other doctors on the task force, which included Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, made a pact to resign together if a member was removed from the team.
She expressed concern for Redfield and Hahn, “because you can hear in the hallways how people were talking about them.”
“And so, I went to the VP a couple of times to call Bob and Steve because I was worried they’d feel like they were – at that risk. And I was very clear to the chief firm that if anything happened to Bob or Steve, we would all leave,” Birx said.
Fauci declined to comment on the pact during a Tuesday interview with “Newsline with Brigitte Quinn” on 1010 WINS (NYC).
“I’m not going to comment on that. I’ll leave that to Dr. Birx. I’m not going to get involved in those kinds of comments,” Fauci said.
Contact Chelsey Cox on Twitter at @therealco.