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Trump criticizes Birx for the first time after she issues coronavirus warnings

Dr. Deborah Birx speaks to CNN about what she calls a "new phase" of Covid-19 in America.

Posted: Aug 2, 2020 10:57 AM
Updated: Aug 3, 2020 4:30 PM


President Donald Trump criticized Dr. Deborah Birx in a Monday tweet after she warned the pandemic is 'extraordinarily widespread' in the US.

While Trump and other top White House officials have publicly attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the tweet marked the first time Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, publicly drew Trump's ire.

The dust-up comes as the country continues to be ravaged by coronavirus, with more than 150,000 US citizens dead and more than 4 million cases. Trump has consistently lied and misled mostly in attempts to downplay concerns about the virus as he presses for schools and businesses to reopen.

'So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics. In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!' Trump wrote.

When Trump was asked what he meant in his tweet, the President sidestepped the question.

'Well, I think that we're doing very well and we have done as well as any nation,' he told reporters at a press briefing Monday afternoon.

'I told Dr. Birx I think we're doing very well. She was in my office a little while ago. She's a person I have a lot of respect for. I think Nancy Pelosi's treated her very badly,' Trump added. 'And I'm just referring to the fact that I thought that, really, they should say the job we've done ... I think we're just doing very well.'

Birx sounded the alarms during an appearance on CNN Sunday, telling CNN's Dana Bash on 'State of the Union' that the pandemic has reached a new phase.

'What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It's into the rural as equal urban areas,' she said, suggesting that some Americans in multi-generational families should start wearing masks inside their homes.

She did not reject a warning by former Federal Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb that there could be 300,000 coronavirus deaths by the end of the year, saying, 'Anything is possible.'

Birx also responded to remarks from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said on ABC's 'This Week' that she did not have confidence in the task force coordinator because the President continues to spread disinformation.

'I think the President is spreading disinformation about the virus and she is his appointee, so I don't have confidence there, no,' Pelosi said.

Birx then defended herself on Sunday.

'I have never been called pollyannish, or nonscientific, or non-data driven,' Birx said. 'And I will stake my 40-year career on those fundamental principles of utilizing data to really implement better programs to save more lives.'

At an executive order signing on Monday, Trump was asked by CNN's Jim Acosta why coronavirus task force health experts are contradicting him.

The President demurred, saying: 'I think we're doing a great job.'

He did not use the opportunity in front of reporters to slam Birx or expand on his Monday morning tweet.

Birx has been able to develop a close relationship with the Trump White House, which has tainted her reputation among some public health experts. She has avoided openly criticizing the administration. Fauci, who has taken a more public-facing role with many media appearances, has earned more irritation from the President, who openly attacked the doctor and questioned during a press briefing last week why Fauci's approval was so high.

And White House trade adviser Peter Navarro wrote a USA Today op-ed slamming Fauci, who, he claimed, 'has been wrong about everything I interacted with him on.'

The White House insisted there has been no effort to undermine the nation's leading infectious disease expert, but Navarro said last week he did not regret the op-ed.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 779491

Reported Deaths: 14893
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2585166330
Riverside566811153
San Bernardino51750858
Orange516461123
San Diego44007757
Kern31148340
Fresno27487355
Sacramento21171375
Alameda20364370
Santa Clara20129295
San Joaquin19793414
Stanislaus16229329
Contra Costa15640198
Tulare15517256
Ventura12167142
Imperial11534312
San Francisco1064096
Monterey933765
San Mateo9332142
Santa Barbara8803109
Merced8719133
Kings715877
Sonoma6987114
Marin6522112
Solano608555
Madera429658
Placer340741
San Luis Obispo333227
Yolo273253
Butte272033
Santa Cruz21758
Sutter163110
Napa159213
San Benito127211
Yuba11127
El Dorado10584
Mendocino82218
Lassen7310
Shasta66814
Glenn5483
Nevada5035
Colusa5026
Tehama4874
Humboldt4826
Lake43310
Calaveras30513
Amador28616
Tuolumne2204
Inyo18714
Mono1632
Siskiyou1600
Del Norte1351
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc230
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
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Oroville
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Paradise
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Chester
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Red Bluff
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Willows
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Most of the forecast will remain pleasant and seasonable with big changes possible by next weekend.
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