Birx made the claim in an interview with CBS News’ Face the Nation on Sunday, in which she appeared to attempt to repair her reputation by distancing herself from the former president.
The doctor described herself as ‘an N of 1’ during her nine months on the COVID-19 task force, which refers to a clinical trial in which a single patient is the sole participant.
‘There was no team, full-time team in the White House working on coronavirus,’ she said, adding that she had asked for more staff though was apparently denied.
The former U.S. Army colonel and CDC adviser said the Trump administration’s structure meant that she was the ‘only full-time person’ working on the White House’s coronavirus response.
‘That’s what I was given,’ she said. ‘So what I did is, I went to my people that I’ve known all through the last years in government, all 41, and said, can you come and help me? And so I was able to recruit from other agencies, individuals.’
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Birx made the claim in an interview with CBS News’ Face the Nation on Sunday, in which she appeared to attempt to repair her reputation by constantly distancing herself from Trump
The doctor described herself as ‘an N of 1’ during her time on the COVID-19 task force, which refers to a clinical trial in which a single patient is the sole participant
Among those Birx recruited was Irum Zaidi, whom she had previously worked with on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
A senior adviser to Mike Pence confirmed to CBS that the majority of staff who worked with Birx had previously collaborated with her on PEPFAR, and said that she compiled the team.
The adviser, who wasn’t named, however contested the claim she was denied necessary staff.
‘There were 7-8 full-time staff detailed from other agencies to her. They were paid,’ the adviser told the network.
The adviser continued that Pence, meanwhile, was given no additional White House staff and his existing team also worked on the COVID-19 response.
During the same interview, Birx also claimed that Trump was fed ‘parallel’ data on the pandemic from another source inside the White House, and presented graphs she ‘never made’.
‘I saw the president presenting graphs that I never made,’ Birx said in the interview. ‘So, I know that someone — or someone out there or someone inside was creating a parallel set of data and graphics that were shown to the president.’
‘I know what I sent up and I know that what was in his hands was different from that,’ the doctor continued.
In private, Birx claimed she told governors to disregard Trump’s dismissiveness of mask wearing and his pressure to reopen the economy faster than federal health guidance permitted
Birx said that she didn’t know at the time who exactly was bringing the parallel data to the president, but on reflection, says she believed Scott Atlas may have played a role.
Atlas, a physician with no previous infectious disease experience who became Trump’s coronavirus adviser, often contradicted scientists on spread mitigation efforts – including mask wearing and social distancing advisories.
‘I don’t know who else was part of it, but I think when the record goes back and people see what I was writing on a daily basis that was sent up to White House leadership, that they will see that — that I was highly specific on what I was seeing and what needed to be done,’ she said.
Brix also insisted that a number of officials within the Trump administration believed COVID-19 was ‘a hoax’, and said she ‘always’ considered quitting the task force.
‘When you have a pandemic where you’re relying on every American to change their behavior, communication is absolutely key,’ she said.
‘Every time a statement was made by a political leader that wasn’t consistent with public health needs, that derailed our response. It is also why I went out on the road, because I wasn’t censored on the road.’
Birx told CBS she grew increasingly concerned of Trump’s coronavirus strategy, particularly in the build up to the election. As a result, she said she spent much of 2020 on the road meeting with state and local leaders to determine what federal support was needed.
In private, Birx claimed she told governors to disregard Trump’s dismissiveness of mask wearing and his pressure to reopen the economy faster than federal health guidance permitted.
‘That was the place where people would let me say what needed to be said about the pandemic, both in private with the governors and then in following up, doing press to talk to the people of that state.’
Brix also insisted that a number of officials within the Trump administration believed COVID-19 was ‘a hoax’, and said she ‘always’ considered quitting the task force
Birx said she provided Trump and Pence’s staff with regular reports from her various meetings, though said she was unsure if the president ever read them because she had ‘limited exposure’ to him.
She said she considered stepping down from the task force almost daily.
‘I had to ask myself every morning, “Is there something that I think I can do that would be helpful in responding to this pandemic?” And it’s something I asked myself every night.’
‘When it became a point where I could – I wasn’t getting anywhere and that was like right before the election, I wrote a very detailed communication plan of what needed to happen the day after the election and how that needed to be executed.
‘And there was always a lot of promise that would happen,’ Birx said.
Birx announced in December she would ‘retire’ from her role when President Joe Biden took office following a backlash after she broke her own coronavirus safety guidelines to celebrate Thanksgiving with her family.
Birx traveled out of state to Delaware for the weekend while the CDC was urging Americans not to travel for the holiday.
The career health official addressed the scandal saying it had taken its toll on her family and said she will retire ‘within the next four to six weeks’ from the CDC.
‘This experience has been a bit overwhelming,’ she said. ‘It’s been very difficult on my family.’
Her latest comments regarding Trump remark a significant departure from praise she heaped on him in March last year, crediting him as being ‘attentive’ to scientific literature and data.
‘He’s been so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data,’ Birx said on March 27, days after the pandemic began.
‘I think his ability to analyze and integrate data that comes out of his long history in business has really been a real benefit during these discussions about medical issues.’
Birx widely criticized for failing to discredit or push back against Trump’s assertions that injecting bleach, or other or other disinfectants — as well as light — could kill the virus (the April press conference where Trump made the claim is shown above)
Birx served as the US Global AIDS Coordinator for both President Barack Obama and Trump before she was appointed to the coronavirus taskforce in March taking on the very public role as one of the nation’s top doctors in its fight against the pandemic.
During her time in the role, she came under fire from both sides.
In August, Trump called Birx ‘pathetic’ when she warned Americans that the pandemic is ‘extraordinarily widespread’ in the US.
Meanwhile, House Speaker and Democrat Nancy Pelosi once also described her as ‘the worst’.
She was also widely criticized for failing to discredit or push back against Trump’s assertions that injecting bleach, or other or other disinfectants — as well as light — could kill the virus.
Birx had hoped to secure a job working under the Biden administration.
Sources said in December that she reached out to Biden’s advisors to make the case for a role in his coronavirus response effort.
But she has yet to be tipped for an appointment and new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki simply said ‘that’s an excellent question’ Friday when asked if Birx was still on the White House COVID-19 response team.
Birx’s interview making thinly-veiled swipes at her former boss comes days after Dr. Anthony Fauci also took aim at Trump Thursday – the day after Biden took office – as the nation’s top doctors finally speak out about what life was like in Trump’s White House.
Dr. Anthony Fauci made it clear he’s happy to be working for President Joe Biden
In contrast to her admonishment of Trump, Birx also praised Biden for rolling out a national strategy to fight the virus during his first day in office
Fauci appeared in the White House press briefing room Thursday for the first time since last spring as he took up his role as Biden’s chief medical advisor and member of the COVID-19 response team.
He spoke about the differences of work life in the Biden administration compared to the Trump administration.
‘One of the new things in this administration is: if you don’t know the answer, don’t guess. Just say you don’t know the answer,’ he said.
‘One of the things that was very clear as recently as about 15 minutes ago, when I was with the president, is that one of the things that we’re going to do is to be completely transparent open and honest if things go wrong.
‘Not point fingers but to correct them and to make everything we do be based on science and evidence.
‘I mean that was literally a conversation I had 15 minutes ago with the president, and he has said that multiple times,’ he noted.
In contrast to her admonishment of Trump, Birx also praised Biden for rolling out a national strategy to fight the virus during his first day in office.
Birx stressed that for the new administration, having a team at the White House to respond to the ongoing pandemic ‘is going to be really, really important.’
‘The amount of work that needs to be done not only at the White House but also at the state level to really ensure that we come out of this in some kind of normalcy by summer will be really critical,’ she said.
The key to their success, she said, will hang on their ability to bring together experts in testing, vaccines, data, and supply chain management.
There have been more than 25 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US and more than 419,000 Americans have died since the pandemic began in March.