Media

CNN's Brianna Keilar calls out Birx 'apology tour'

CNN's Brianna Keilar called out former White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx on Monday for going on what she called an "apology tour" following the end of the Trump administration.

"Apology tours and reputation rejuvenation are quite in vogue right now in the wake of President Trump's exit from the White House, and that includes the curious case of Dr. Deborah Birx, who appeared on CBS News," Keilar said during her "Roll the Tape" segment on Monday.

Keilar highlighted Birx's interview on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday during which the former administration official said she "always considered" resigning from the White House coronavirus task force and that some in the White House believed that COVID-19 was a hoax.

Birx also said that someone was delivering a "parallel set of data" to the former president about the coronavirus pandemic.

Keilar played the clip, juxtaposing it with a March interview from the Christian Broadcasting Network in which Birx said Trump was "attentive to the scientific literature and details and the data."

"It's unclear how far along in the pandemic it was," Keilar said. "But at some point she said she knew Trump was looking at BS data, and she's telling us now."

Keilar also pointed to the April press briefing during which Birx appeared to sit silently while Trump suggested that people should consider an "injection" of disinfectant to fight the coronavirus.

When asked about that moment on "Face the Nation," Birx said that she was actually saying "not a treatment" in response to the president's questions. She also asserted that she wasn't given a chance to set the record straight before being asked about it.

Keilar concluded her segment Monday by saying Birx's "explanations are weak, they're woefully insufficient, they're an insult after more than 400,000 people have died." She warned that Birx was a "cautionary tale" for scientists about letting "politics and power warp science until it is no longer science."

"A doctor can spend 40 years building a reputation that garners respect, being a champion of science and serving others. But if they don't stand up for science when it counts - when lives are on the line -  their reputation can be wiped away. All it takes a little bleach and in her case a small ray of sunlight."

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