Former White House coronavirus task force official Dr. Deborah Birx revealed Sunday that Donald Trump used mysterious graphs during presentations on COVID-19 that she did not create, which provided selective, misleading data.
“I saw the president presenting graphs that I never made,” Birx said in an interview on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “I know that someone — someone out there or someone inside — was creating a parallel set of data and graphics that were shown to the president ... You can’t do that,” she added. “You have to use the entire database.”
Trump was mocked for a fistful of charts he brought to an Axios interview last summer, which he had difficulty explaining or understanding.
Birx, who was the designated coordinator of the White House coronavirus response, also complained to host Margaret Brennan about a disturbing “parallel data stream coming into the White House.”
She said at least some of the competing “data streams” were “certainly” coming from Dr. Scott Atlas. He became Trump’s go-to coronavirus official, whose fringe positions were not supported by the scientific community. Dr. Anthony Fauci, task force member and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, blasted Atlas last year for “talking about things that don’t make any sense.”
Birx said there were people in the White House who “definitely” believed that COVID — which has now killed more than 400,000 people in the nation — was a “hoax.”
The doctor has been harshly criticized for not calling Trump out on his false information on COVID-19. She mainly looked uncomfortable when he shockingly suggested at a press conference that perhaps injecting disinfectant could eradicate the coronavirus. Experts and disinfectant companies immediately issued warnings against such a dangerous action.
Birx insisted to Brennan when the president looked at her after his off-the-wall suggestion, she said: “Not a treatment.” But she conceded: “I wasn’t prepared for that. I didn’t even know what to do in that moment.”
Birx said she regretted not speaking out more, and that she “always” thought of quitting the task force amid attacks on her.
Birx announced last month that she planned to retire soon from her role at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fauci also addressed COVID-19 misinformation pushed by Trump in a New York Times article Sunday. He said the former president spouted false COVID-19 theories to him that he had heard on the phone, possibly from friends or business associates.
“It was clear that he was getting input from people who were calling him up, I don’t know who ... saying, ‘Hey, I heard about this drug, isn’t it great?’ or, ’Boy, this convalescent plasma is really phenomenal.” I would try to ... calmly explain that you find out if something works by doing an appropriate clinical trial ... And he’d say, “Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, this stuff really works.”
Fauci also said he was often scolded by Trump for not being “more positive” about the COVID-19 pandemic.
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