Birx: Trump's disinfectant injection moment was 'extraordinarily uncomfortable'

Deborah BirxDeborah BirxFeehery: The honest contrarian Documents reveal new details of Trump political interference in COVID-19 response The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats insist budget consensus close as talks drag on MORE, the former White House coronavirus response coordinator, said on Monday that former President TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE’s suggestion to treat COVID-19 by injecting disinfectant and using ultraviolet rays was “extraordinarily uncomfortable” for her to witness.

Birx told ABC News Live’s “The Breakdown” that when he made the remarks during a press briefing, she only responded to his claims on ultraviolet rays by saying it was not used as “a treatment.” She noted that Trump's comments came as he was addressing another official at the White House briefing.

"You can see how extraordinarily uncomfortable I was," she told ABC News Live.

ADVERTISEMENT

Birx said her more than 30 years of experience in the military contributed to her restrained reaction.

"Those of you who have served in the military know that there are discussions you have in private with your commanding officers and there's discussions you had in public," she said. "Frankly, I didn't know how to handle that episode. I still think about it every day."

Trump received widespread backlash for suggesting during an April press briefing that injecting disinfectants could treat COVID-19, as disinfectants are hazardous substances that are oftentimes poisonous.

He made the remarks after a presentation from a Department of Homeland Security official analyzed the effects of disinfectants and sunlight on the coronavirus.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?” he said before turning to Birx to ask about any potential for ultraviolet treatment.

Birx, who recently joined the George W. Bush Institute after leaving her position in government, was harshly criticized for not forcefully rebuking Trump's suggestion in the moment.

“I think maybe if someone didn’t have the military training that I had, maybe they would have reacted differently,” she said during Monday's interview. 

Birx said that she would often discuss with Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci says he 'felt really badly' about 'difficult choice' on travel bans Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Supreme Court weighs abortion restrictions Mask mandates on transit expected to be extended into March: report MORE, a fellow member of the White House coronavirus task force, about how they could “correct the record.”

Unlike Fauci, Trump could have fired Birx as a political appointee at any point. President BidenJoe BidenBiden and Harris host 'family' Hanukkah celebration with more than 150 guests Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Overnight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate MORE asked Fauci to continue his work under the new administration.

In her ABC News Live interview, Birx applauded the Biden administration for having “critically important” consistent messaging and called on Trump to lend “his voice” to promoting the COVID-19 vaccine like other former presidents.