Jan 24, 2021 - Health

Deborah Birx went "on the road" for local COVID efforts to avoid White House censorship

Deborah Birx, who served as White House coronavirus response coordinator under former President Trump, described on Sunday disarray, a lack of communication and the spread of misinformation inside Trump's White House as it attempted to handle the Covid-19 crisis.

Driving the news: Birx told CBS' "Face the Nation" that she was censored by the Trump administration, and blocked from appearing on national news media, forcing her to go "out on the road" to work with state and local officials on their pandemic response.

  • Birx, who was tasked with coordinating the federal response to the virus, said she believed Trump received coronavirus data in his briefings that she did not provide, and that some in the building believed the pandemic was a hoax.
  • She revealed during the interview that the White House did not provide her a full-time staff, and that she instead had "one incredible support person" helping her.

The intrigue: The former diplomat said she "always" considered quitting her role, partly because of longtime colleagues labeling her as a political actor, and because of the stress that public scrutiny put on her family.

Asked if she believed the Trump administration suppressed vital information on the pandemic to win the election, Birx responded: "I don't know what their motivation was. I know that I was so frustrated that I realized that the only way — that if I could not get a voice internally, that I could get a voice out at the state level."

Birx suggested the president's description of the coronavirus as a "hoax" hurt the response to the virus.

  • "When you have a pandemic when you're relying on every American to change their behavior, communication is absolutely key," Birx said. "And so every time a statement was made by a political leader that wasn't consistent with public health needs, that derailed our response."

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