President Donald Trump on Monday released a scathing statement aimed at two of the most prominent and visible figures from his administration’s coronavirus response: Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.
“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 of the doctors in the lengthy statement.
The former president pointed to their “bad policy decisions” like leaving the borders “open to China and others,” against reopening the country’s economy and slowing the vaccine process, a point he’s been eager to remind Americans of his role in pushing. “Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx moved far too slowly, and if it were up to them we’d be currently locked in our basements as our country suffered through financial depression,” the former president said.
Talking about Fauci, Trump also highlighted his poor first pitch at a Washington Nationals’ game last year and called him “the king of flip-flops and moving the goalposts to make himself look as good as possible.”
He didn’t hold back on Birx, either.
“Dr. Birx is a proven liar with very little credibility left,” Trump said of his former White House coronavirus response coordinator, calling her recommendations “pseudo-science” and alleging “Dr. Fauci would always talk about her negatively.”
The blistering response comes after a strong of national television appearances by the doctors, both critical of Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
Of the interviews that triggered the president’s response, Birx grabbed the biggest headlines over the weekend.
She told CNN that the pandemic’s impact could have been significantly lessened beyond 100,000 American deaths: “All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.”
“The federal government did not provide consistent messaging to the American people and that is fault number one,” Birx added in the interview.
Birx, who stepped away from the White House’s coronavirus response last year, is currently a fellow at the George W. Bush Institute.
Both Birx and Fauci have previously described Trump administration policies and COVID-19 strategy as incompatible with scientific approach. Earlier this month, she told ABC News of the former president’s viral disinfectant moment: “Frankly, I didn’t know how to handle that episode. I still think about it every day.”