Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California on Saturday slammed former White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx for enabling ex-President Donald Trump‘s COVID-19 response which allegedly caused “hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.”
Birx recently discussed the federal coronavirus response under the Trump administration with CNN‘s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in a new documentary. “I look at it this way. The first time we have an excuse,” she said. “There were about a hundred thousand deaths that came from that original surge. All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.”
In response, Lieu strongly criticized Birx for wrongfully praising Trump and being complicit in the deaths through her failure to challenge the former president’s “unscientific rhetoric.”
“The malicious incompetence that resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths starts at the top, with the former President and his enablers,” the congressman tweeted. “And who was one of his enablers? Dr. Birx, who was afraid to challenge his unscientific rhetoric and wrongfully praised him.”
Birx, who has worked in the federal government since 1980, was appointed as the administrator for AIDS relief by the administration of former President Barack Obama, before joining the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response team last March.
In December, Birx announced that she will retire after assisting the transition of then-President elect Joe Biden‘s administration to the White House. One month later, Birx told CBS‘ Face the Nation that she was “censored” by the White House and blocked from making appearances on national television.
She admitted that there was a point before the November election where she felt her work on COVID-19 “wasn’t getting anywhere,” but insisted that she never purposefully withheld information from the public.
“When it became a point where 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,” Birx said. “And there was a lot of promise that that would happen.”
Birx also said that her colleagues often questioned her political loyalty when she worked under Trump and she had “always” considered resigning.
“Colleagues of mine that I had known for decades… decades in that one experience, because I was in the White House, decided that I had become this political person, even though they had known me forever. 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,” she said.
Newsweek reached out to Trump representatives for comment.