Birx served as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator from the end of February 2020 through the end of the Trump presidency.
And while Fauci – the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – publicly clashed with the president on the importance of masks and lockdown restrictions, Birx avoided publicly contradicting Trump during her term.
But since leaving the White House she has been more vocal in her criticism, saying thousands of lives could have been saved.
The about-face has left her open to criticism from both sides, with opponents of Trump saying she should have spoken out sooner. Meanwhile the former President branded her and Fauci ‘two self-promoters trying to reinvent history to cover for their bad instincts.’
After her criticism, Trump called Birx ‘a terrible medical advisor,’ claiming that he rarely followed her advice.
During an appearance on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time on Wednesday Fauci spoke out in defense of Birx.
‘She was in a tough situation,’ Fauci said of Birx. ‘You really need to understand, she was living in the White House. She had an office in the lower level of the West Wing.
‘And I guess, obviously, you say she could have done more, but it was really tough on her. She was a military person. She understands the chain of command.
‘And I think if you ask her now, she probably would say she should have done more, but you really need to cut her some slack, the way I do. You really have to, because she was in a tough situation.’
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Dr. Anthony Fauci went on CNN on Wednesday night to defend colleague Dr. Deborah Birx
Fauci and Birx worked together for the White House Coronavirus Task Force under Trump
‘And I think if you ask her now, she probably would say she should have done more, but you really need to cut her some slack, the way I do,’ Fauci said of Birx to Chris Cuomo
Dr. Fauci stands up for Dr. Birx when asked if she should have said and done more:
“It was really tough on her… you really need to cut her some slack, the way I do. You really have to because she was in a tough situation.” pic.twitter.com/NVIXco8ksj
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) April 1, 2021
Birx also faced criticism amid the pandemic for hosting a family gathering the day after Thanksgiving, despite the CDC advising people not to travel.
One of Birx’s more memorable moments came when she made a face as Trump suggested during a conference that a possible coronavirus treatment could be to inject people with disinfectant.
Since leaving the government, Birx is becoming more active speaking out about her time serving under Trump over the past year.
In a documentary that will air Sunday on CNN, Birx reveals a ‘very uncomfortable’ phone call she had with Trump back in August.
‘It was a CNN report in August that got horrible pushback,’ Brix said to CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the documentary ‘COVID WAR: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out.’
‘That was a very difficult time, because everybody in the White House was upset with that interview and the clarity that I brought about the epidemic,’ Birx continued.
‘I got called by the President,’ Birx detailed. ‘It was very uncomfortable, very direct and very difficult to hear.’
Birx declined to outright say whether or not Trump threatened her.
She appears to be referencing a conversation with CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ host Dana Bash in August about the seriousness of the spread of COVID-19.
During that conversation, Birx warned the U.S. was entering a ‘new phase’ of the pandemic as the nation saw a more widespread number of cases.
For the forthcoming documentary, Birx also notes how she believes less people should have succumbed to COVID-19 with a different response.
‘I look at it this way – the first time we have an excuse,’ Birx said of the first wave of COVID-related deaths. ‘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,’ she said.
Birx often received criticism during her tenure for not publicly rebuking Trump more often
Donald Trump recently slammed both Fauci and Birx in a lengthy statement about them
Trump did not react well to these comments, releasing a statement insulting both Birx and Fauci earlier this week.
‘Based on their interviews, I felt it was time to speak up about Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, two self-promoters trying to reinvent history to cover for their bad instincts and faulty recommendations, which I fortunately almost always overturned,’ Trump said.
‘They had bad policy decisions that would have left our country open to China and others, closed to reopening our economy, and years away from an approved vaccine — putting millions of lives at risk.
‘Dr. Fauci was incapable of pressing the FDA to move it through faster. I was the one to get it done, and even the fake news media knows and reports this.’
According to Politico, it was not within Fauci’s authority to pressure the FDA to approve a vaccine faster.
‘Dr. Birx was a terrible medical advisor, which is why I seldom followed her advice,’ Trump continued in his statement.
‘Time has proven me correct. I only kept Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx on because they worked for the U.S. government for so long — they are like a bad habit!’
A former White House official commented on Trump’s statement, expressing surprise about his criticism of Birx.
‘Bit of revisionist history from the former president,’ the anonymous official said. ‘We all had our issues with Fauci and his media marathons but very few people — including President Trump — had anything negative to say about Dr. Birx.’
While Birx is retired, Fauci continues to hold a government position, currently serving as Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden.
COVID-19 has had a devastating toll on the United States so far, with over 30.46 million total cases and 552,073 deaths.
More than 30 million cases of COVID-19 have occurred in the US, with over 500,000 deaths