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Fauci defends Birx: 'She had to live in the White House'

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciVaccinated Fauci hosts people at home, but stays away from crowded indoor spaces Trump endorses Rand Paul for reelection The Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Let's make a deal on infrastructure, taxes MORE, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, is defending former White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah BirxDeborah BirxThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Supreme Court announces unanimous rulings The Memo: The mystery of post-presidency Trump Overnight Health Care: US joins 13 countries in raising 'concerns' with data in WHO team's virus report | COVID-19's fourth wave is hitting the US hard | American satisfaction with vaccine rollout surges to 68 percent: poll MORE amid scrutiny of her time under former President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid 'white lives matter' protest MORE.

In an interview with The Atlantic published Wednesday, Fauci, who unlike Birx is staying on in the new Biden administration, was asked whether she should have spoken out more forcefully against the former administration’s COVID-19 response after she criticized it in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“It’s a tough situation. I will defend her. Unlike the situation that the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] commissioner and the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] director and I were in, she had to live in the White House,’” Fauci said, referring to Trump's coronavirus task force.

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“She had to be there every minute of the day with these people. You’ve got to take that into consideration when you judge how much she did or did not push back. She told me multiple times, ‘Tony, this is the worst, most painful 11 months of my entire life,' ” he said.

Birx's and Fauci’s recent remarks have cast a negative light on what it was like working with Trump over the past year as the pandemic escalated.

Speaking in the White House press room last week, Fauci said it was "liberating" to now be working under a president who will "let the science speak." In an interview with Forbes, he said Trump's response to the pandemic "very likely" increased its death toll.

Fauci told The Atlantic this week that he felt bad for Birx when Trump brought in Scott AtlasScott AtlasClyburn: Documents show Trump officials helped suppress coronavirus CDC reports Fauci defends Birx: 'She had to live in the White House' UPDATED: McEnany, Fox News talks on pause MORE as his pandemic adviser, who he called a “complete foil to poor” Birx. 

“I felt so bad for her, because he completely undermined her. He didn’t undermine me, because I didn’t give a shit about him,” he said. “I didn’t really care what he said, because my home base was [the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases]. But Deb’s home base was the White House.”

Birx’s CBS interview made headlines this week after she told Margaret Brennan that someone was delivering a “parallel set of data” on COVID-19 to Trump and that she was “always” considering quitting his task force.