Deborah Birx, who served as coronavirus response coordinator for former President Trump, said in her book released Tuesday that her first meeting with Trump lasted 30 seconds before he turned on Fox News and she was escorted out.
Birx says she met with Trump on March 2, 2020, to emphasize her concerns about the new virus after she joined the White House coronavirus task force, Business Insider reported, citing her memoir “Silent Invasion: The Untold Story of the Trump Administration, Covid-19, and Preventing the Next Pandemic Before It’s Too Late.”
“Mr. President, this is not like the flu. This is far more serious than the flu. We have to shape our response differently,” Birx said she told Trump, who dismissed her concerns and said the people he talked to did not believe COVID-19 would be very serious.
“Mr. President, I don’t know who are you speaking with, but I have evidence to fully support the conclusion that this outbreak is going to be nothing like the seasonal flu or even pandemic flu. This virus is very deadly,” she says she responded.
Trump reportedly got tired of her pleas and turned on Fox News before she was beckoned out of the room.
“His eyes return to his television screens. He reaches for the remote control, and the voice of someone at Fox News enters what passed for a conversation between us,” Birx wrote in her book, according to Business Insider.
“I don’t hear the rest. Someone takes a few steps toward me and gestures toward the door. I’ve had less than thirty seconds to speak with the president.”
During the pandemic, Trump had public disagreements with public health experts on his team about how to handle COVID-19, ranging from treatments for the virus to measures to slow its spread, such as masking and social distancing.
Birx told “Good Morning America” earlier this week that she demanded that the White House retract then-President Trump’s comment on potentially using disinfectant against COVID-19.
She also recently told ABC News that she and Anthony Fauci, along with others on the White House task force, had a pact that they would all leave if one person was fired amid their arguments with Trump.
Birx announced her memoir in February, saying it focuses on what mistakes were made that cost lives, as well as what went right that was largely ignored during the pandemic.