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Flanked by White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx and NIAID director Anthony Fauci (R), former President Trump delivers remarks at the White House last May. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former President Trump unleashed on his former White House coronavirus task force members Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx Monday, a day after they opened up to CNN on the pressures of working in his administration.

What he's saying: In a lengthy statement, Trump made a series baseless claims against the respected career scientists — accusing them of being "self-promoters trying to reinvent history to cover for their bad instincts and faulty recommendations, which I fortunately almost always overturned."

  • "Dr. Birx is a proven liar with very little credibility left," he said of his White House coronavirus response coordinator.
  • "Many of her recommendations were viewed as 'pseudo-science' and Dr. Fauci would also talk negatively about her and, in fact, would ask not to be in the same room with her. "
  • He also made inaccurate claims about lockdowns and states that "followed her lead."

Trump called Fauci the "king of 'flip-flops," saying he moved the goalposts "to make himself look as good as possible," commenting that the NIAID director said "we didn't need to wear masks, then a few months later he said we needed to wear masks, and now, two or three of them."

  • He also took a dig at Fauci for his first pitch at the Washington Nationals game last year, saying he "couldn't throw a baseball even close to home plate."

For the record: Birx has never been accused of "pseudo-science," but another Trump administration coronavirus task force member has — radiologist Scott Atlas, for reportedly peddling an unfounded "herd immunity" theory.

  • Birx also was famously captured squirming in her chair as Trump during a White House task force briefing when he falsely claimed that disinfectants may be used to treat COVID-19. He later said he was being sarcastic.
  • Fauci has previously addressed the issue of wearing masks, noting that "very early on in the pandemic" health officials did not recommend wearing face coverings amid concerns about shortages in hospitals. But it "became clear" that cloth masks also worked, so that alleviated those concerns, he told ABC.

Go deeper

Fauci: Trump's tweets to "LIBERATE" states "like a punch to the chest"

Trump, Fauci and Birx at the White House in March 2020. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Leading members of former President Trump's White House coronavirus task force opened up on the pressures of working in the administration in a CNN special report, broadcast Sunday.

Of note: In CNN's "COVID War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out," Anthony Fauci recalled that Trump tweeting "LIBERATE" blue states in order to push them to reopen "hit me like a punch to the chest," while Deborah Birx said "fault No.1" with the administration was it didn't "provide consistent messaging to the American people."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."