At the start of 2020, Dr. Deborah Birx was a respected physician and experienced diplomat. After being named as part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, she quickly became one of Donald Trump's more obsequious sycophants and it took her only a few months to utterly destroy her reputation.
Now she sees Trump is on the way out, so she is speaking out. It's far too late for her to salvage any of her credibility.
From the start of the pandemic, Birx has made misleading and false comments to give credence to Trump's indifference and lack of response and she has been silent when Trump spoke publicly about inane "cures" that would kill people if they tried them (injecting disinfectants into their lungs).
On March 2, Birx praised Trump's minimal restrictions on travel from China:
It's clear that the early work of the president both with travel restrictions and the ability to quarantine has bought us the time and space to have this task force be very effective.
Because testing was late and slow to begin in the US, what little Trump did regarding China had no effect on stopping the spread of the virus. Even after his alleged "ban", more than 430,000 travelers from China entered the US (even Fox reported this). Trump's delay on restricting travel from Europe was a principal reason there was a catastrophic number of infections and deaths in New York City.
Nevertheless, on March 13, when Trump declared a national emergency and said he took no responsibility for the US's response, Birx lavished praise on Trump as a bold leader:
[L]ast Tuesday, seeing the spread of the virus around the globe, the President realized that our current approach to testing was inadequate . . . to meet the needs of the American public. He asked for an entire overhaul of the testing approach. He immediately called the private sector laboratories to the White House, as noted, and charged them with developing a high-throughput quality platform that can meet the needs of the American public. . . . This innovative approach [will provide] convenient testing to hundreds of thousands of Americans within short turnaround times. In less than two weeks together, we have developed a solution that we believe will meet the . . . testing needs of Americans.
Note: The US still — more than seven months later — has not met that goal.
Aaron Rupar, Vox:
Birx tried to explain away the US government’s ill-fated decision to try and develop its own coronavirus test by falsely suggesting that a test developed by the World Health Organization has major accuracy problems. (It doesn't.) This week, she bragged about the US passing South Korea in total number of coronavirus tests conducted, ignoring that South Korea has a much smaller population and had much more testing capacity during the critical weeks when the virus was first spreading.
On [March 23], Birx made a painstaking attempt to pretend there might be data-driven reasons underlying Trump's desire to relax social distancing guidelines as soon as possible, even though his motivations are transparently political. Then on Thursday, she tried to downplay reports that hospitals are preparing to make tough choices between treating patients and letting them die because of ventilator shortages — despite reporting about health care providers doing just that.
On March 26, Birx went way overboard, telling the Christian Broadcasting Network that Trump is:
so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data. 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.
Throughout the summer, Trump's plan to limit cases and deaths never included public health measures. All he wanted to do was distort and falsify the facts. Birx went along with it. (I didn't think Trump could possibly get to Election Day without ever having a plan (however perfunctory it might have been) to deal with the virus. I was wrong.)
David Smith, The Guardian, "Like other White House officials before her, she is said to be sacrificing a hard-won professional reputation at the altar of Trump's vanity."
In early August, Birx stated the obvious: infections were "extraordinarily widespread" throughout the country. Trump immediately blasted her on Twitter, saying she "took the bait" from "Crazy Nancy Pelosi" and was tricked into criticizing Trump.
Trump has never stopped ridiculing people who wearing masks, he has claimed more than 40 times that the virus will simply "disappear" (it won't), he pushed hydroxychloroquine as a safe and effective treatment (it isn't), he says increased cases is because of increased testing (nonsense), he stated 99 percent of coronavirus cases are "totally harmless" (wrong), and he continually assured the nation that children are "virtually immune" (they may actually spread the virus more than adults).
Through it all, Birx was mute. Now that it's obvious Trump is going down in flames, she has quickly become one of the rats desperate to flee the sinking ship. A few days ago, she countered Trump's lie that the US is "turning the corner' on the virus, writing in a memo that the US is "entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic":
Cases are rapidly rising in nearly 30 percent of all USA counties, the highest number of county hotspots we have seen with this pandemic. . . . Half of the United States is in the red or orange zone for cases despite flat or declining testing.
Jen Kirby, Vox:
Birx's warning comes as some states are seeing record-level infections and hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed — a reprise of what some parts of the country saw in the earliest days of the pandemic. On, Friday, the US hit more than 99,000 new cases in a single day, breaking the previous record. More than 48,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with Covid-19. Deaths usually lag behind new cases and hospitalizations, but those are up, too; on average, roughly 800 deaths are being reported each day, according to the Covid-19 Tracking Project. Experts have said they believe it will get worse as winter approaches, as more people gather indoors. . . .
[Birx] has been reluctant to criticize Trump or publicly push back on some of his false statements. But the warnings in the memo are some of her bluntest yet. In the report, she says that the White House is putting too much emphasis on lockdowns, which are not really an issue anymore. Instead, she argued, the US needs "more aggressive action" on everything from testing to messaging. Consistent messaging, she wrote, was essential.
With the memo, Birx joins the chorus of scientists and experts who are warning of a possible "dark winter." Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said in an interview Friday that the United States is in for "a whole lot of hurt." Only an "abrupt change" in public practices and behaviors would change that, he said.
The memo argued that the White House could play a role in urging that change. "There is an absolute necessity of the Administration to use this moment to ask the American people to wear masks, physical distance and avoid gatherings in both public and private spaces," the report warns.
Birx has been a unwavering, top-level Trump Death Cult member for nine months. Nothing she says now will ever change that. Her comments last week are true, but it comes far too late for anyone to care that she is saying them.
Likewise, at some point, Republicans will try to convince us they did not willingly and happily support every single one of Trump's illegal, racist, and inhumane policies and decisions. But we should never forget the truth. None of them should ever be taken seriously again. They will forever be branded with an orange T on their foreheads.