After serving as leaders of former President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 task force, public health officials Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx are now speaking out against the way the previous administration handled the pandemic.
Their remarks did not go over well with Trump, who issued a statement denouncing them both for being “self-promoters.” Fauci and Birx participated in a recent CNN special called COVID War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out.
“Putting millions of lives at risk”
As Fox News reported, Fauci declared that the program developed to develop an effective vaccine was “the best decision” he made in his role on the task force.
For her part, Birx complained about a “very uncomfortable” conversation she had with Trump regarding the severity of the public health crisis. She also asserted that COVID-related deaths after the initial surge “could have been mitigated or decreased substantially” if a more robust reaction had been pursued.
In response to their remarks, Trump wrote that it was “time to speak up” about the behavior of both experts.
He called Fauci and Birx “two self-promoters trying to reinvent history to cover for their bad instincts and faulty recommendations,” noting that he “almost always overturned” their advice.
“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 added.
“Into a COVID caused depression”
Decrying Birx as a “proven liar with very little credibility left,” he denied that the conversation she described ever took place.
“There was no ‘very difficult’ phone call, other than Dr. Birx’s policies that would have led us directly into a COVID caused depression,” the ex-president insisted.
Trump claimed that states like California, which “followed her lead,” experienced worse results in educational and economic terms as a result of their widespread restrictions and lockdowns. He further lambasted Birx’s leadership on the task force, calling her a “terrible medical advisor” who issued recommendations based on “pseudo-science.”
Not all experts have been critical of Trump’s COVID-19 response, including Fauci’s boss, National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins.
In an interview last month, Collins called the former president’s success in developing COVID-19 vaccines a “breathtaking” achievement.