WATCH: Pelosi Doesn’t ‘Have Confidence’ In Dr. Deborah Birx On Handling COVID-19
“I think the president has been spreading disinformation about the virus and she is his appointee so, I don’t have confidence there, no,” Pelosi told ABC News, before going on to praise the nation’s top infectious disease expert and another member of the task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
"I think the president is spreading disinformation about the virus and she's his appointee. So I don't have confidence there, no." — Pelosi says she doesn't have confidence in Dr. Birx pic.twitter.com/EyPV3MhyIN
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 2, 2020
Her comments follow a report last week from Politico that she criticized Birx to some Republican colleagues while negotiating a new coronavirus aid package.
“Deborah Birx is the worst. Wow, what horrible hands you’re in,” Pelosi reportedly said.
Birx took to cable television Sunday as well to call for the wearing of face masks and social distancing, warning that the rising coronavirus cases mark a “new phase” for the pandemic.
“What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread,” she said. Her remarks came as the U.S. surpassed 4.9 million COVID-19 cases and 159,000 deaths.
Dr. Deborah Birx says, "we are in a new phase" of the coronavirus pandemic adding, "This epidemic right now is different and it's … more widespread and it's both rural and urban" #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/w09X9GrhL0
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 2, 2020
President Donald Trump attacked Birx’s television appearance Monday, tweeting that she “took the bait” from Pelosi.
“So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics,” Trump wrote. “In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!”
So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics. In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2020
Birx has come under fire from Democrats for appearing to avoid contradicting Trump, even when what he says is misinformation.
In March, she helped boast a non-existent Google site for COVID-19 testing. And in April she did not speak out after Trump falsely said she would test a treatment using “light inside of the body.”
“I said, supposing you brought the light inside of the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way,” Trump told Birx. “And I think you said you’re going to test that, too.”
She has, however, broken with the Trump administration’s belief that schools should reopen in the fall, saying Sunday that schools with a 5% or higher rate of COVID-19 should remain closed.
“If you have high case load and active community spread, just like we’re asking people not to go to bars, not to have house parties, not to have large spreading events, we’re asking people to distance learn at this moment so we can get this epidemic under control,” she said.
Last month, the New York Times accused Birx of covering for the president, writing that “she was a constant source of upbeat news for the president and his aides, walking the halls with charts emphasizing that outbreaks were gradually easing.”
In her Sunday interview with CNN, Birx countered the report.
“I’ve never been called pollyannish, or non-scientific, or non-data driven,” she said. “I will stake my 40-year career on those fundamental principles of using data to implement better programs and save lives.”