Birx: Trump White House prioritized politics

Former President Trump and other White House officials were “distracted” by the 2020 election and prioritized campaigning over any COVID-19 mitigation strategies, the administration’s former coronavirus adviser Deborah Birx told House investigators earlier this month.

In excerpts from closed-door testimony conducted Oct. 12-13 by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis shared with The Hill, Birx said she felt the White House focus on campaigning took people’s time away and distracted them from focusing on the pandemic.

“I felt like the White House had gotten somewhat complacent through the campaign season, and I wanted to make sure that as soon as everyone was back the day after the election, that people would comprehensively reengage,” Birx told the panel.

A big number: Birx said the administration’s resistance to promoting basic public health mitigation resulted in more than 100,000 avoidable deaths. She said former President Trump did not do everything he could to try to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.

“I believe if we had fully implemented the mask mandates, the reduction in indoor dining, the getting friends and family to understand the risk of gathering in private homes, and we had increased testing, that we probably could have decreased fatalities into the 30 percent less to 40 percent less range,” Birx said.

More than 735,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, including more than 300,000 since President Biden took office.