Deborah Birx, who served as the White House coronavirus response coordinator under former President Donald Trump, described an “uncomfortable” call between the two after an interview with CNN in August in which she discussed the threat posed by Covid-19.
“Well, I think you’ve heard other conversations that people have posted with the president,” Birx said as part of a CNN documentary “Covid War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out,” which airs. Sunday night. ” I will do it. say it was even more direct than what people heard. It was very uncomfortable, very direct and very difficult to hear. ”
In that segment, which CNN posted on Sunday, Birx was asked if she had been threatened during the call.
“I would say it was a very uncomfortable conversation,” she said.
In a previous clip released by CNN, Birx said the Trump administration could have prevented hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 deaths if it had acted more forcefully to mitigate the pandemic.
“I see it this way: the first time, we have an excuse. There were around 100,000 deaths that came from that original wave, ”Birx said. “All the others, in my opinion, could have been mitigated or significantly reduced.”
The virus has killed more than 551,000 Americans, according to an NBC News tracker. The initial spring wave was followed by surges over the summer and winter, which turned out to be the deadliest stretch.
Weeks after the Covid-19 shutdown measures were put in place, Trump, who would later contract the virus and be hospitalized, began pushing for cities and states to reopen. He also offered unproven treatments for the virus and questioned the need to wear headgear.
Birx, who has spoken about her experience on Trump’s coronavirus task force several times in recent months, has taken the heat of not being more critical while taking on this role. Last March, she hailed Trump as being “so attentive to the scientific literature, the details and the data” in regards to the epidemic “.
These past comments have prompted negative reactions to his last remarks.
“The malicious incompetence that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths begins at the top, with the former president and his enablers,” said Representative Ted Lieu, D-California, tweeted. “And who was one of his facilitators?” Dr. Birx, who was afraid to challenge his unscientific rhetoric and wrongly praised it. »
She was also criticized last year for traveling over Thanksgiving weekend after warning Americans to avoid travel and gatherings with people outside their “immediate homes.”