White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Deborah Birx answers a question while meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and in the Oval Office of the White House on April 28, 2020.
Doug Mills/The New York Times/Pool/Getty Images
Former President George W. Bush talked Dr. Deborah Birx out of quitting the COVID-19 task force.
“I am not having the impact on the White House with the current pandemic that I would like,” Birx told Bush.
“You need to finish. You can never quit,” Bush told Birx, according to her new book.
Dr. Deborah Birx thought about quitting her job as the White House COVID Task Force coordinator under President Donald Trump until former President George W. Bush talked her out of it, she revealed in her new tell-all memoir.
Birx, who’s worked in public service for decades, went to meet with Bush at his Dallas home in September 2020 under the auspices that she wanted to talk about PEPFAR — the program started under Bush that she led to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
She told him the program was still running well despite the country’s attention on the COVID-19 pandemic, and then shifted the conversation to her job on the task force — the real reason she wanted to meet with him.
“I am not having the impact on the White House with the current pandemic that I would like,” Birx told Bush, according to her book. “I should focus on the other pandemic. I think I should return full time to my PEPFAR position at the State Department.”
Bush understood what Birx meant, she wrote, and told her: “What you’re saying is you want to quit.”
At the time, the United States had still been reeling from the impact of the pandemic, and was on its way to surpass 200,000 COVID-19 deaths. “We were heading into the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she wrote in her book.
Bush swiftly shut down the idea of her quitting.
“Nearly chuckling, he said, ‘Well, you know you can’t do that. I know you know that’s right. You’ve got to do this. You need to finish. You can never quit,'” Birx wrote.
Birx credited Bush for her decision to stay in her role, writing: “Without being directly critical of the present administration, he let me know he understood what we were all up against. All the more reason to carry on.”
The conversation comes in her new book, “Silent Invasion,” which came out Tuesday. In it, Birx provides …read more
Source:: Business Insider