Former Trump-era COVID-19 response coordinator Deborah Birx said in an interview Monday on “Good Morning America” that she demanded that the White House retract then-President Trump’s comment on potentially using disinfectant against COVID-19.
Trump’s comment, made during a briefing on April 23, 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, implied that injected disinfectant could help fight the coronavirus.
“It knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” said Trump, turning to experts at the press briefing, including Birx. “And is there a way we can do something like that, like by injection inside or almost a cleaning?”
Trump continued, “Because, you see, it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that so that you don’t have to use medical doctors, but it sounds interesting to me.”
Birx said she “immediately went to his most senior staff … and said this has to be reversed immediately.”
“And by the next morning, the president was saying it was a joke. But I think he knew by that evening, clearly, that this was dangerous,” she added.
Birx, who referred to the debacle as a “tragedy on many levels,” said that the discussion about disinfectants had occurred between Trump and a researcher who had presented data on COVID-19 prevention.
“That scientist went into the Oval Office, and they started that discussion there, and they continued it in front of America,” Birx explained.
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Birx said that while some comments made by the Trump administration were concerning, there was a “dichotomy” between what was being said and what was being done.
“So when the president was talking about decreasing testing he was signing defense production acts of billions of dollars to increase testing,” she said.
“So that was my metric,” Birx continued. “Are we making progress on the core parameters that I think are critical to save American lives?”