Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, listens as President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus at the White House on April 23, 2020.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Dr. Deborah Birx is out with a new tell-all book about her time in the Trump administration.
Birx says her first meeting with Trump in March 2020 about COVID-19 lasted only 30 seconds.
Birx unsuccessfully tried to impress on Trump that the novel coronavirus was far more serious than the flu.
Dr. Deborah Birx’s first meeting with President Donald Trump about COVID-19 lasted only 30 seconds before he lost interest and turned the channel to Fox News, Birx wrote in her new memoir.
Birx, a leading public health expert and diplomat known for her work on HIV/AIDS, was persuaded by Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger to leave her post at the State Department as the US’ global AIDS coordinator to serve as the coordinator of the White House’s newly formed Coronavirus Task Force.
Birx’s first met with Trump on March 2, 2020, which was nine days before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. By that point, however, global public health experts closely following the data on the virus’ spread were alarmed.
Birx’s goal in that meeting, she wrote, was to impress upon Trump the urgency of the situation and to convey that the highly contagious and deadly COVID-19 virus, which could be largely spread by those with no symptoms, was nothing like the seasonal flu.
But when Birx finally got Trump’s attention in the crowded room, things didn’t go as she had hoped.
“Mr. President, this is not like the flu. This is far more serious than the flu. We have to shape our response differently,” Birx recalls telling Trump.
Trump, she wrote, flashed a “glib grimace” of a smile before responding: “Well, the people I’m talking to say this isn’t going to be any worse than the flu.”
“Mr. President, I don’t know who are you speaking with, but I have evidence to fully support the conclusion that this outbreak is going to be nothing like the seasonal flu or even pandemic flu. This virus is very deadly,” she said.
“Well these are good people,” he replied, according to Birx. “Smart people. I trust these people. They know what they’re saying.”
Birx repeated her concerns about the virus, but Trump lost interest.
“His eyes return to his television screens. He reaches for the remote control, and the voice of someone …read more
Source:: Business Insider