Dr. Deborah Birx has held an essential role in the Trump administration as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator. She became a familiar face in February 2020 when Vice President Mike Pence appointed her to the position, with Birx appearing at daily televised coronavirus briefings alongside President Donald Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci (head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases). For those who don’t already know, Birx is a “world-renowned global health official and a retired U.S. Army physician who was instrumental in early HIV/AIDS vaccine research. Birx’s three-decade-long career has focused on HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health,” according to her U.S. Department of State bio.
Birx is an accomplished person, to say the least, serving as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS for nine years before becoming the U.S. Department of State’s Ambassador at Large and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator in 2014, according to her LinkedIn profile. All of this experience led her to land the Coronavirus Response Coordinator gig.
Although many would argue Dr. Deborah Birx has a lot left to give the position, on Dec. 22, 2020, she announced her plans to retire after Trump leaves office in January 2021. So why is the expert on her way out? Let’s take a look at her statement below.
Dr. Birx is willing to help the Biden administration
In a December 2020 interview with Newsy, Dr. Deborah Birx revealed her plans to retire from her position but gave no specifics on a timeline of when that will happen. “I’ve worked since 1980 in the federal government, first through the military, then through HHS and then detailed to the State Department and detailed here,” she stated.
During the interview, Birx also said that she will make herself available to the Biden administration regardless of her plans. “I want the Biden administration to be successful. I will be helpful in any role that people think I can be helpful in and then I will retire,” she said.
Although Birx did not make any other public statement following her retirement announcement, she did confirm the news to Politico by text. She told the outlet, “I want to ensure the transition goes well, meaning I will stay as long as needed and then retire.” This news followed a report by the Associated Press she had traveled out of state for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, which contradicted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation urging Americans not to travel for the holidays. With that in mind, keep on reading for Dr. Deborah Birx’s explanation for the trip.
Dr. Birx clarifies her controversial Thanksgiving trip
Dr. Deborah Birx was joined on the Thanksgiving trip by her husband, daughter, son-in-law, as well as her two grandchildren. Birx told the Associated Press the purpose of the trip was to deal with the “winterization of the property.” She stated, “I did not go to Delaware for the purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving.” Everyone there was part of her “immediate household,” however, she acknowledged that they all live in different homes and that her family shared a meal while in Delaware.
She reiterated her travel explanation in a statement to CBS News, stating, “My trip to Delaware after the Thanksgiving holiday solely focused on preparing the property for a potential sale. Members of my immediate household assisted in that as well. She stressed that she adhered to all the CDC guidelines during her trip. “As some members of my immediate family could be at risk for COVID-19, I am extremely vigilant in taking all precautions to protect them. I self-isolate, I wear a mask, and I get tested when I interact with them. My family and I follow and practice CDC guidelines, and I encourage all Americans, especially those in situations similar to mine, to do the same,” she said.
Along with Dr. Deborah Birx’s high profile that came with being part of the coronavirus task force came some public scrutiny — and it might have inspired her decision to leave the job. We reveal all of the details after the jump.
Being in the public eye has taken a toll on Dr. Birx
Speaking on her Thanksgiving trip, Dr. Deborah Birx told Newsy that the Associated Press story took a toll on herself and her family. “This experience has been a bit overwhelming. It’s been very difficult on my family. I think what was done in the last week to my family, you know, they didn’t choose this for me,” she said. “They’ve tried to be supportive, but to drag my family into this when it’s — my daughter hasn’t left that house in 10 months. My parents have been isolated for 10 months.”
However, that wasn’t Birx’s first controversial moment. In April 2020, she appeared to have an uncomfortable reaction when Donald Trump floated the eyebrow-raising (and dangerous) idea of injecting people with disinfectant to fight the coronavirus, per The Hill. “I see the disinfectant where it knocks [the coronavirus] out in a minute, one minute,” Trump said during a White House briefing on the coronavirus. “And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it’d be interesting to check that.”
As Trump continued to speak, cameras caught the seemingly uneasy reaction of Birx. After moments like that, Dr. Deborah Birx may very well be looking forward to retirement.
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