Dr. Deborah Birx is getting her close-up.
Birx, the Trump administration's coronavirus coordinator, was caught on camera in the White House briefing room looking dejected as President Donald Trump floated the idea of light treatments to combat the coronavirus.
Trump made the comments after a Homeland Security official reported that hot temperatures can shorten the half-life of the virus on outdoor surfaces.
With Birx sitting on the side of the room looking on attentively, Trump took to the podium and said, "So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too. Sounds interesting."
Birx then smirked briefly and looked down. Trump continued on, saying "And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute."
"And is there a way we can do something like that," he went on, as Birx stiffened back into her chair, "by injection inside or almost a cleaning." Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me."
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Close-up video of Birx's reaction went viral online, with many social media users setting her reactions to music from the comedy shows "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Veep."
When pressed later by a reporter if his ideas were dangerous, Trump turned to Birx and asked her if she'd ever heard of light and heat treatments. "Not as a treatment," Birx responded.
The official White House transcript of the press conference initially quoted Birx as saying, "That is a treatment." The White House put out a corrected transcript Friday morning.
Doctors decried Trump's idea as dangerous and irresponsible, while Trump claimed Friday he was simply being "sarcastic." But Birx defended his comments in an interview with Fox News, which appears to have been filmed before Trump's claim that he was being sarcastic.
In a clip from the interview with Jesse Watters, which is set to air Saturday night, Birx said Trump was given new information shortly before the briefing, and he likes to "talk that through out loud and really have that dialogue."
"He was still digesting" the information, Birx said.