While Trump and other top White House officials have publicly attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the tweet marked the first time Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, publicly drew Trump’s ire.
Birx sounded the alarms during an appearance on CNN Sunday, telling CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” that the pandemic has reached a new phase.
“What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas,” she said, suggesting that some Americans in multi-generational families should start wearing masks inside their homes.
She did not reject a warning by former Federal Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb that there could be 300,000 coronavirus deaths by the end of the year, saying, “Anything is possible.”
“I think the President is spreading disinformation about the virus and she is his appointee, so I don’t have confidence there, no,” Pelosi said.
Birx then defended herself on Sunday.
“I have never been called pollyannish, or nonscientific, or non-data driven,” Birx said. “And I will stake my 40-year career on those fundamental principles of utilizing data to really implement better programs to save more lives.”
Birx has been able to develop a close relationship with the Trump White House, which has tainted her reputation among some public health experts. She has avoided openly criticizing the administration. Fauci, who has taken a more public-facing role with many media appearances, has earned more irritation from the President, who openly attacked the doctor and questioned during a press briefing last week why Fauci’s approval was so high.
The White House insisted there has been no effort to undermine the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, but Navarro said last week he did not regret the op-ed.
CNN’s Stephen Collinson, Veronica Stracqualursi and Alison Main contributed to this report.