WASHINGTON – Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator for the COVID-19 task force formed during the Trump administration, said she was “paralyzed” by former President Donald Trump’s infamous 2020 speculation about treating coronavirus by injecting disinfectant.
“I just wanted it to be ‘The Twilight Zone’ and all go away,” Birx told ABC’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton on Sunday about Trump’s remarks. “I mean, I just – I could just see everything unraveling in that moment.”
“I was paralyzed in that moment because it was so unexpected,” she added. “I could have gotten up and probably stood between the scientists and the president and said what I said later: not a treatment.”
Birx spoke with Ashton before 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 on-the-ground pandemic experience said she was unprepared for the political atmosphere of the Trump White House, in which she was constantly sidelined.
Birx said she and the other doctors on the task force, which included Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, formed a pact to resign together if any 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 vice president multiple times to call Bob and Steve because I was worried about them feeling like they were – at that risk. And I was very clear to the chief of staff that if anything happened to Bob or Steve, we would all leave,” Birx said.
Fauci declined to comment about the pact during a Tuesday interview with “Newsline with Brigitte Quinn” on 1010 WINS (NYC).
“I’m not going to comment about that. I’d leave that to Dr. Birx. I’m not going to get involved in those kinds of comments,” Fauci said.
Reach out to Chelsey Cox on Twitter at @therealco.