In an appearance on ABC News Lives “The Breakdown” on Monday, former coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx opened up about when Donald Trump suggested injecting disinfectant to fight COVID-19.
She attributed her silence to military protocol, which kept her from questioning the then-president when he made the controversial comment in April of last year. As a former U.S. Army physician, she was trained never to show a commander in a bad light.
“Frankly, I didn’t know how to handle that episode,” Birx told host Terry Moran. “I still think about it every day.”
In a moment that became the cornerstone of Trump’s pandemic response, when he asked her about using ultraviolet rays and heat as a possible treatment for the virus, she quickly responded, “not a treatment.”
“You can see how extraordinarily uncomfortable I was,” said in the interview. “Those of you who have served in the military know that there are discussions you have in private with your commanding officers, and there’s discussions you had in public.”
Birx, who stepped down in December, praised the Biden administration for delivering a clear and “scientifically sound” message, the complete opposite of the Trump administration.
“Whether it’s the CDC director or Dr. Fauci or President Biden or Vice President Harris, all of them and all of their spokespeople are communicating exactly the same pieces,” Birx said, “and I think that is critically important.”
She also praised the former presidents who have been promoting vaccines and hopes that Trump will eventually do the same.
“I hope President Trump lends his voice to that. I think it is important. But to every Trump supporter out there: Protect yourself, protect your family. Get vaccinated,” she advised.