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Deborah Birx to testify publicly for first time since leaving Trump administration

The former Covid response coordinator will appear before a House subcommittee hearing on "what went wrong during the previous administration," the panel said.
Deborah Birx speaks after a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services on June 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Deborah Birx speaks after a White House coronavirus task force briefing on June 26, 2020.Joshua Roberts / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — Deborah Birx, who served as Covid response coordinator under former President Donald Trump, will give her first public testimony next week about her time in the Trump administration.

Birx is scheduled to provide testimony on June 23 at a hearing before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, led by Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.

The subcommittee, in an advisory set for widespread release later Thursday, says it “will hear Dr. Birx’s firsthand knowledge about what went wrong during the previous administration in order to determine what corrective steps are necessary to better prepare our nation for any future public health crisis.”

Birx is expected to appear in person at the hearing. 

The subcommittee questioned Birx in a closed-door interview last October.

“Dr. Birx’s statements to the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis confirm that President Trump’s prioritization of politics, contempt for science, and refusal to follow the advice of public health experts undermined the nation’s ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus crisis,” Clyburn said in a statement at the time.

Transcript excerpts from that two-day interview show that Birx was asked if Trump did everything he could to mitigate the spread of the virus. “No,” Birx said. “And I’ve said that to the White House in general, and I believe I was very clear to the president in specifics of what I needed him to do.”

During his time in office, Trump publicly downplayed the virus’ impact and eschewed mandates on safety precautions such as mask-wearing. The former president initiated the development of Covid vaccines and therapeutics, receiving some praise from President Joe Biden for the effort, but the previous administration’s rollout of the vaccines was plagued by delays and shortages.