Former President Donald Trump on Monday attacked Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx after they faulted his management of the COVID-19 response.
The prominent members of Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force said in a CNN special that Trump imperiled the public — but in his rebuttal, Trump accused them of shifting blame.
Trump included jabs at Fauci’s botched opening pitch at a baseball game in July and Birx’s controversy involving a hypocritical Thanksgiving trip.
“Based on their interviews, I felt it was time to speak up about Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, two self-promoters trying to reinvent history to cover for their bad instincts and faulty recommendations, which I fortunately almost always overturned,” Trump said in the emailed statement.
“They had bad policy decisions that would have left our country open to China and others, closed to reopening our economy, and years away from an approved vaccine—putting millions of lives at risk.”
Trump said that his administration developed vaccines “in record time, nine months, which is saving the entire world” and that Fauci is “the king of ‘flip-flops’ and moving the goalposts to make himself look as good as possible.”
“In a fake interview last night on CNN, Dr. Fauci, who said he was an athlete in college but couldn’t throw a baseball even close to home plate, it was a ‘roller,’ tried to take credit for the vaccine, when in fact he said it would take three to five years, and probably longer, to have it approved. Dr. Fauci was incapable of pressing the FDA to move it through faster. I was the one to get it done, and even the fake news media knows and reports this,” Trump said.
“He fought me so hard because he wanted to keep our country open to countries like China. I closed it against his strong recommendation, which saved many lives. Dr. Fauci also said we didn’t need to wear masks, then a few months later he said we needed to wear masks, and now, two or three of them. Fauci spent U.S. money on the Wuhan lab in China—and we now know how that worked out,” Trump said.
Trump said Fauci and Birx “moved far too slowly, and if it were up to them we’d currently be locked in our basements as our country suffered through a financial depression. Families, and children in particular, would be suffering the mental strains of this disaster like never before.”
In his interview, Fauci appeared to claim credit for vaccine development and criticized Trump for tweeting in April 2020 that states should be “liberated” from draconian COVID-19 lockdowns — saying “that hit me like a punch to the chest.” Birx said that after the first 100,000 US deaths from the virus, “all of the rest … could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.” States have reported about 550,000 COVID-19 deaths.
Birx also said she and Trump had a “very uncomfortable” call after she warned about the pandemic’s severity on TV.
Ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Monday offered a preliminary pro-Trump pushback, calling the doctors’ accounts “revisionist” and “disingenuous.”
“I can tell you about the ‘uncomfortable’ phone call. It had nothing to do with any of that,” Meadows retorted. “It had to do with the fact that Deborah Birx started talking about keeping schools closed and remote learning. And that was what it was all about because that was not based on science.”
Trump did not address that phone call in detail, but said “Dr. Birx is a proven liar with very little credibility left. Many of her recommendations were viewed as ‘pseudo-science,’ and Dr. Fauci would always talk negatively about her and, in fact, would ask not to be in the same room with her.”
Trump added: “The States who followed her lead, like California, had worse outcomes on Covid, and ruined the lives of countless children because they couldn’t go to school, ruined many businesses, and an untold number of Americans who were killed by the lockdowns themselves. Dr. Birx was a terrible medical advisor, which is why I seldom followed her advice. Her motto should be ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ Who can forget when Dr. Birx gave a huge mandate to the people of our Nation to not travel, and then traveled a great distance to see her family for Thanksgiving—only to have them call the police and turn her in? She then, embarrassingly for her, resigned.”
Of the phone call he had with Birx, Trump said, “Dr. Birx says she can’t hear very well, but I can. There was no ‘very difficult’ phone call, other than Dr. Birx’s policies that would have led us directly into a COVID caused depression. She was a very negative voice who didn’t have the right answers. Time has proven me correct.”
Trump concluded: “I only kept Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx on because they worked for the U.S. government for so long—they are like a bad habit!”