Tuesday, 16 March 2021

'I didn't know how to handle it': Dr Deborah Birx reveals she felt 'extraordinarily uncomfortable' when Trump discussed using disinfectant injections to treat COVID

 Former White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr Deborah Birx has said she still thinks about the moment Donald Trump mentioned injecting disinfectant into people as a possible treatment for Covid-19.

While Trump was mocked for the dangerous suggestion, Birx was also criticized for not immediately correcting him during the press briefing.

In footage from the press briefing last year, Birx appears visibly dumbfounded and shifts uncomfortably in her seat as Trump first suggests looking into light therapy as a treatment, then makes the infamous comment regarding injecting disinfectant to 'clean' people of Covid-19.

When asked by Trump whether she could look into light therapy as a treatment for Covid, she politely responds that it does work as a treatment for fevers but that she has not seen it suggested as a treatment for coronavirus.

'Frankly, I didn't know how to handle that episode,' Birx told ABC News Live's The Breakdown on Monday.

'I still think about it every day.'

Former White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr Deborah Birx (pictured) has said she still thinks about the moment Donald Trump mentioned injecting disinfectant into people as a possible treatment for Covid-19

Former White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr Deborah Birx (pictured) has said she still thinks about the moment Donald Trump mentioned injecting disinfectant into people as a possible treatment for Covid-19

Trump says injecting disinfectant may kill covid-19 as Dr Birx looks on
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Birx said that her three decades of military service had kicked in and that she thought it better to discuss the matter in private.

'You can see how extraordinarily uncomfortable I was,' Birx said, noting that at the time Trump had been speaking to a different official in the room. 

'Those of you who have served in the military know that there are discussions you have in private with your commanding officers and there's discussions you had in public.' 


Birx revealed the strains of working under Trump who frequently downplayed the gravity of the pandemic, forcing herself and Dr Anthony Fauci - the government's top infectious diseases expert - to walk a fine line between contradicting misinformation spread by the president and making sure the public were appropriately informed about the dangers of the coronavirus and how to protect themselves from it. 

'I can't tell you how many discussions [Fauci and I] had on how do we get the message out, realizing what's happening at the most senior levels of the White House,' Birx said on Monday. 

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.

She now has several roles in the private sector.

She has praised officials from the new administration for consistent and scientifically-backed messaging on coronavirus - a marked change from her experience working under Trump. 

'Whether it's the CDC director or Dr. Fauci or President Biden or Vice President Harris, all of them and all of their spokespeople are communicating exactly the same pieces,' she said, 'and I think that is critically important.'

Birx added that differing messages enable people 'to give themselves permission to perhaps do things that may put other people at risk.'

She also praised the former presidents, with the exception of Trump, who have all promoted getting vaccinations.

'I hope President Trump lends his voice to that. I think it is important. But to every Trump supporter out there: Protect yourself, protect your family. Get vaccinated.' 

Birx (right) revealed the strains of working under Trump (left) who frequently downplayed the gravity of the pandemic, forcing herself and Dr Anthony Fauci - the government's top infectious diseases expert - to walk a fine line between contradicting misinformation spread by the president and making sure the public were appropriately informed about the dangers of the coronavirus and how to protect themselves from it [File photo]

Birx (right) revealed the strains of working under Trump (left) who frequently downplayed the gravity of the pandemic, forcing herself and Dr Anthony Fauci - the government's top infectious diseases expert - to walk a fine line between contradicting misinformation spread by the president and making sure the public were appropriately informed about the dangers of the coronavirus and how to protect themselves from it [File photo]

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