According to a new book written by one of President Joe Biden’s best coronavirus advisers, Dr. Deborah Birx wanted former President Donald Trump to lose the 2020 presidential election.
In “Preventable,” his new book featuring the federal government’s failure to decrease a pandemic, Andy Slavit wrote that he met Burkes last August in Minnesota after speaking to local officials.
Once a close adviser to Trump, she was kicked out of his inner circle by that time and replaced by Dr. Scott Atlas, a radiologist with no epidemiological experience hired whom he saw on Fox News.
Apart from her former prominent role, Birx spent her days traveling the nation and giving detailed data to government officials.
“I wanted to get a sense for whether, in the event of a strained transition of government, she would help give Biden and his team the best chance to be effective,” Slavitt wrote in his new book, though the election results were not yet known.
“At one point, after a brief pause, she looked me in the eye and said, ‘I hope the election turns out a certain way,'” Slavitt wrote. “I had the most important information I needed.”
For the last six months, Slavitt has worked as Biden’s senior adviser on the pandemic response. Its public position meant frequent television appearances and weekly briefings with reporters. However, Slavitt left that role on Thursday due to the 130-day limit for special government employees.
Before working in the Biden administration, Slavitt was quite silent in the Covid-19 response when seeing Trump downplay it from the outside. When Trump was in the White House, Slavitt advised several officials, including in phone conversations with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, to asked them to consider it seriously and concentrate more on testing.
‘Fighting the virus and Scott Atlas together is the hardest thing I’ve had to do,’ Birx is reported to have said in the room with Slavitt last August.
During one news conference, Birx had hailed Trump saying he had been “so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data” and that his “ability to analyze and integrate data” was from “his long history in the business.”
Those moves often drew sharp criticism from public health officials, who said Birx is mulling over Trump’s unscientific claims. Others supported Birx, showing that she worked long hours collecting data used to make significant decisions. In her conversation with Slavitt, Birx recognized her reputation damage.
“I have no illusions about my career in government,” she said.
‘She was completely scared’
When Slavitt met Birx in Minnesota in August, she has still served as the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator. It took several months before Trump would test positive for Covid-19, as he maintained a solid travel schedule and held a lot of large meetings at the White House, where guests and employees didn’t wear a facemask.
“Her early optimism was long gone,” Slavitt writes. According to him, “At the end of October 2020, she was beyond all of that; she was downright scared”.
Though Birx showed that she was open to working in the Biden administration after he took office but she quietly declared her retirement in December.
‘I mean, why would you want to put yourself through that every day?’ she said to Face the Nation.
‘I had to ask myself every morning, is there something that I think I can do that would be helpful in responding to this pandemic and it’s something I asked myself every night.’
Slavitt formerly served in the Obama administration on the healthcare.gov website and also worked as the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
He didn’t serve under Trump, but he could give an inside look at their handling of Covid-19 because he had got contact with Kushner since April 2020.
“Some of them clearly don’t want to succeed,” Slavitt says Kushner told him about governors in April 2020. “Bad incentives to keep blaming us.”
HHS chief had little effect on Trump, the book says
Slavitt was also familiar with some of the most notable health officials in the Trump administration, including then-US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who got contact with Slavitt ahead of the Senate confirmation hearing in 2017.
During the conversation, Slavitt asked Azar how he could push back on Trump if it was necessary.
“The President and I talked about this. And he knows I’m of strong will,” Azar is recorded to have said in the book.
Azar would be one of the first health officials to warn Trump about the pandemic in January 2020. However, his tenure, leading an integral part of the federal response, was marked by chaos and internal conflict. It was also highlighted how little effect Azar had on the President.
Slavitt writes that Azar supervised “a series of unforced errors.” This included the early troubles and limitations within the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over tests.
Slavitt also writes that Vice President Mike Pence’s communications director, Katie Miller, had announced a directive in March 2020 that “HHS was not permitted to issue any communication that raised concern among the public.”
After Azar had suggested that the US situation was under control but “but could change rapidly,” Miller absolutely refused the proposed statement and kicked Azar out of a planned appearance on “Fox & Friends” the following morning.
In February, Pence’s employed tried to tighten messaging by telling all officials to coordinate statements through the office. Miller told CNN that this policy was not particular to Hazard. However, the book revealed that there was one aimed at him.
“He was prohibited from doing any media for 45 days,” Slavitt writes, notwithstanding being the HHS secretary while a pandemic was spreading quickly across the world.
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