Dr. Deborah Birx said Sunday that the media’s insistence on rehashing President Donald Trump’s mistakes could prevent people from getting useful information.
Birx explained to CNN’s Jake Tapper that the United States could play a unique and important role in learning about the novel coronavirus, but the focus on Trump could hamper that ability. (RELATED: ‘Deborah Birx’s Outfit Makes Her Look Like The Cult Leader’: Politico Writer Mocks Trump Coronavirus Team)
Tapper began the segment with video from Trump’s Thursday press conference and the quote heard around the world.
“There was an odd moment on Thursday when President Trump at the briefing mused aloud about whether injecting UV light or disinfectant into the human body as a way to treat coronavirus could be something looked into,” Tapper began. “Dr. Birx, I just want to give you the opportunity right now. What should the American people know about disinfectants and the human body?”
Birx explained, as she has on several occasions since the press conference, that the president was “musing” about possible options. “We have made it clear and when he turned to me I made it clear and he understood that it was not as a treatment,” she said.
Birx went on to explain the study that had prompted the comment, which had indicated that sunlight could be very effective in killing the virus.
“But that’s not what the president was musing about,” Tapper objected. “He was talking about ways to take that science and somehow turn it into injecting UV light or disinfectants into the human body which as you know, especially with disinfectants, can be lethal. And the CDC had to issue a statement, Lysol had to issue a statement.”
“As a doctor, doesn’t that bother you, that you have to even spend any time discussing this?” Tapper asked then.
“Well, I think it bothers me that this is still in the news cycle,” Birx replied, adding, “because I think we’re missing the bigger pieces of what we need to be doing as an American people, to continue to protect one another.”
Birx went on to point out that the United States was the first place where the impact of the virus could be studied in an open society, across many different demographics.
“These are the things that we should be talking about and focusing on. So I think as a scientist and a public health official and a researcher, sometimes I worry that we don’t get the information to the American people that they need when we continue to bring up something that was from Thursday night,” Birx said again.
President Trump explained away the comments by claiming that they had been “sarcastic” and intended to provoke a reaction from the press.