I’d assumed that Dr. Deborah Birx, a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, had been co-opted by the otherworldly orange ooze, but if I’m reading the tea leaves (or, since we’re talking about the Trump administration, the Big Mac wrappers) correctly, it looks like she could be the next to jump ship.
The White House is now actively attempting to smear task force whistleblower Olivia Troye, who has criticized Trump’s coronavirus response in the harshest of terms, but it would be a lot tougher to discredit Birx, who has a much higher profile and has been a key part of the government’s response for months.
But now, according to CNN, Birx is privately wondering how long she can stay in her position, given the ascendance of Trump’s handpicked snake oil salesman, Dr. Scott Atlas, “a neuroradiologist without expertise in infectious diseases.”
Birx has told people around her that she is “distressed” with the direction of the task force, describing the situation inside the nation's response to the coronavirus as nightmarish.
According to people familiar with her thinking, Birx views Dr. Scott Atlas, a recent addition to the task force, as an unhealthy influence on President Donald Trump's thinking when it comes to the virus.
“The President has found somebody who matches what he wants to believe,” a source close to Birx said of her view of Atlas's relationship with Trump. “There is no doubt that she feels that her role has been diminished.”
I’ve always gotten the sense that Birx has tried to walk a fine line between avoiding an outright embrace of pseudoscience and keeping the pseudo-president happy, but now that Trump has landed himself a true believer, things appear to be going sideways — and fast.
Birx believes Atlas is feeding the President misleading information about the efficacy of face masks for controlling the spread of the virus, the source said. Trump, whose rallies draw crowds of supporters who refuse to wear masks, has repeatedly mocked Democratic rival Joe Biden for using them.
Needless to say, more Atlas will usher in a world of problems. This is a guy whose mutterings appear to have inveigled Trump toward embracing a belly-flop into herd immunity, which would likely kill hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — more Americans than a more standard and cautious approach would.
So what will Dr. Birx do? I would hope she’ll speak out, but if there’s anything I’ve learned over the past several years living in Trumptopia, “good” people often do nothing — for reasons that may be clear to them but still escape me.
“This guy is a natural. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry.” — Bette Midler on Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, via Twitter. Find out what made dear Bette break up. Dear Fcking Lunatic: 101 Obscenely Rude Letters to Donald Trump and its boffo sequels Dear Prsident A**clown: 101 More Rude Letters to Donald Trump and Dear F*cking Moron: 101 More Letters to Donald Trump by Aldous J. Pennyfarthing are now available for a song! Click those links, yo!