Democratic representative Ted Lieu has claimed that former White House coronavirus task force member, Dr Deborah Birx , enabled Donald Trump ’s response to Covid-19 , leading to “hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths”.
Dr Birx, 64, was a prominent figure in the former president’s coronavirus taskforce alongside Dr Anthony Fauci. She was often the public face of the administration’s Covid-19 guidelines and advice.
Although she praised Mr Trump early in the pandemic, she publicly contradicted him several times and looked visibly uncomfortable in a viral clip when the former president falsely claimed bleach could work as a Covid treatment.
Speaking in a new CNN documentary, COVID WAR: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out , Dr Birx spoke about the Trump administration’s response, saying that: “I look at it this way. The first time we have an excuse.”
She added: “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.”
Despite Dr Birx’s criticism of the pandemic response, Rep Lieu, a Democrat from California, accused the 64-year-old of being complicit in the more than 500,000 deaths in the US.
“The malicious incompetence that resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths starts at the top, with the former President and his enablers,” the representative tweeted on Saturday alongside a clip of Dr Birx’s interview.
“And who was one of his enablers? Dr Birx, who was afraid to challenge his unscientific rhetoric and wrongfully praised him,” he added.
However, Dr Birx told CBS’ Face the Nation late last year that she had been repeatedly “censored” from discussing the pandemic response in the media and said that she never withheld information from the public.
Dr Birx also claimed that she created a detailed plan to help the response and was promised that it would happen after 3 November’s election.
“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,” Dr Birx said, before confirming that her plan was not implemented.
Dr Birx caused controversy in December when she travelled and saw family members on the day after Thanksgiving, despite advising Americans to be “vigilant” during the ongoing pandemic.
Soon after, she announced that she would be leaving government service, saying that she would “stay as long as needed and then retire.” She left her position on 20 January 2021 when Joe Biden took office.
Covid-19 deaths in the US have decreased dramatically following a surge in January, as the country began vaccinating the most vulnerable groups of people.
The US has so far administered more than 136 million doses of the Covid vaccine. At least 48 million people have been fully vaccinated, totalling 14.7 per cent of the population.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 30.2 million people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached 548,828.