Politico

Deborah Birx: ‘Parallel set of data’ on Covid-19 was delivered to Trump


While Deborah Birx served as the White House coronavirus response coordinator under President Donald Trump, “outside advisers” were bringing him “parallel” sets of data on the Covid-19 pandemic, she said in an interview that aired on Sunday.

“I saw the president presenting graphs that I never made,” Birx said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “So, I know that someone — or someone out there or someone inside was creating a parallel set of data and graphics that were shown to the president.”

Birx said that she didn’t know at the time who exactly was bringing the parallel data to the president, but that looking back, she now believed that Scott Atlas had provided some of the data. Atlas, a physician with no previous experience fighting infectious disease who became Trump’s former coronavirus adviser, contradicted scientists on mitigation efforts, including the wearing of masks and practicing social distancing.

“I don’t know who else was part of it, but I think when the record goes back and people see what I was writing on a daily basis that was sent up to White House leadership, that they will see that — that I was highly specific on what I was seeing and what needed to be done,” she said.

Birx said she took “extensive notes” from every White House meeting and wrote more than 310 daily reports that were sent to senior leaders. When asked in the interview whether Trump read the reports, Birx said she wasn’t sure.

“I had very little exposure to President Trump,” she said.

In his Covid-19 response, Trump often broke with scientific guidance from his own administration’s health officials. He downplayed the threat of the virus from the start of the pandemic, and as the death toll increased, Trump continued to decline to wear a mask — even while holding large-scale campaign rallies with thousands of supporters.

Birx, who will retire from her position after assisting the Biden administration’s transition to the White House, also said she frequently thought of quitting her position in the Trump administration.

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