Fauci says he and Birx had ‘bad cop,’ ‘good cop’ roles on Trump coronavirus task force
Top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said in an interview that aired on Sunday that he and former White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx took on “bad cop” and “good cop” roles, respectively, within former President Trump’s COVID-19 task force.
CNN’s Sanjay Gupta asked Fauci in a CNN special report whether he and Birx had a “strategy” to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, asking if one of them was the “good cop” while the other was the “bad cop.”
“I was the bad cop,” Fauci responded. “She was the good cop.”
“They referred to me, as I often say, as the skunk at the picnic because whenever they would say things were great, I would say … I don’t really think so,” Fauci continued.
But the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases acknowledged that it was “easy for me to say that out loud” because of his support at the National Institutes of Health. Fauci said Birx “had a much more difficult situation.”
“She had an office right there in the West Wing,” Fauci said. “So I am very, very reluctant to condemn anything that — even though there are people who feel that she should have pushed more, she probably should have.”
“But boy, she did a lot of good,” he added. “She knocked herself out getting up at 3 o’clock in the morning putting that data together presenting it every day.”
Gupta interviewed both Fauci and Birx, as well as other federal health officials, on the United States’ pandemic response last year under the Trump administration.
Since last year, the U.S. has documented more than 30.2 million COVID-19 cases and more than 549,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.