One of President Trump's top infectious disease experts, Dr. Deborah Birx, is known for avoiding Trump's wrath, but that changed when she recently decided to speak frankly on the growing spread of coronavirus across the country. While Trump walked back his public criticism of her, the dust shows that no amount of "gushing compliments or massaging statistics can compensate for even a little bit of honesty with this man," the Washington Post's Molly Roberts writes.
While Birx appeared to be in control of the facts when she first emerged as a figure on the coronavirus task force, she soon became someone Democrats couldn't trust.
"Birx stood silent when Trump told this country’s citizens to inject bleach; later she said on Fox News that he was simply 'digesting' some new information about the disease," Roberts writes. "She had previously praised these digestive abilities, claiming that a commander in chief who reportedly doesn’t even read his daily briefing book was a whiz at analyzing and integrating information, and 'so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data' to boot. She has soothed the president behind closed doors, too, by emphasizing the good and playing down the bad in rolling averages and death tolls — even when there has been more bad than good to go around."
Being trusted by both the public and Washington elites isn't a possibility for Birx. According to Roberts, she's "trying to be enough of a scientist that she stays credible compared to the loyalists who don’t know anything about science, and enough of a loyalist that she stays useful compared to the scientists who have little interest in being loyal."
Read the full op-ed over at The Washington Post.