One day after top health official Dr. Deborah Birx offered a sobering assessment of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., President Trump lashed out at her on Twitter, calling her “pathetic.”
It was a stunning rebuke of Birx – coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force – who had previously been spared Trump’s public wrath.
But her Sunday appearance on CNN, in which she warned that coronavirus infections are “extraordinarily widespread” in rural areas as well as in cities, put her in the President’s crosshairs.
She even told Americans living in multi-generational households to wear masks at home.
Her assessment of the virus stood in stark contrast to Trump’s, who has sought to publicly downplay its severity as he seeks re-election in November.
Trump accused Birx of capitulating to criticism from Democrats that the federal government’s response to the pandemic has been ineffective, tweeting that “Deborah took the bait and hit us. Pathetic!”
Trump also tried to fend off criticism that his administration has mishandled the outbreak, tweeting Monday, “With the exception of New York & a few other locations, we’ve done MUCH better than most other Countries in dealing with the China Virus. Many of these countries are now having a major second wave. The Fake News is working overtime to make the USA (& me) look as bad as possible!”
Trump’s critics pounced on what they saw as blatant inaccuracies in the tweet.
New York, while once the U.S. epicenter of the virus, has now managed to successfully control its spread through the use of masks and social distancing while the majority of U.S. states have seen infections soar amid botched re-openings.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has the highest numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world.
Trump's likely opponent in November Joe Biden took a shot at Trump by tweeting, "It's hard to believe this has to be said, but if I'm elected president, I’ll spend my Monday mornings working with our nation’s top experts to control this virus — not insulting them on Twitter."