There’s a new book out that most readers of this column won’t bother to pick up. And no, I’m certainly not talking about my new book, The Revivalist Manifesto, which many of you have already ordered (the publisher tells me sales are brisk, so thank you for that) and all of you absolutely should.
Instead, I refer to Silent Invasion, a memoir written by former White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. It’s an illuminating book for all the wrong reasons, and specifically it’s a bit problematic for Birx’s former boss, former Vice President Mike Pence, who chaired the COVID-19 task force, and Pence’s boss, former President Donald Trump.
Trump was more a victim of Birx and her confederates in the Deep State who did everything they could to sabotage his political fortunes and the U.S. economy during an election year with COVID-19 as a cover, but he still doesn’t make out well. Why? Because as this column noted well more than a year ago, Birx needed to be summarily fired back in the spring of 2020.
Her book proves that.
Of course, Birx should have been joined on the unemployment line by her mentor, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Instead, Fauci just said he’ll be retiring, or maybe accepting a different position than the perch at the National Institutes of Health he currently occupies, before the end of Joe Biden’s term in office. That’s quite obviously due to the certitude that Fauci will go under the microscope as soon as Republicans recapture one or both houses of Congress this fall; the investigations which will follow won’t go any better for him than his serial vivisections at Sen. Rand Paul’s hands have. Fauci knows the next president, assuming he or she is a Republican, will necessarily be looking for new blood in his current role, so he’s signaling that he’ll bow out gracefully while getting a tongue bath and perhaps a delightful hair-sniffing from the current POTATUS for his highly remunerated “service” to the public.
But it’s far too late for that. There is nothing graceful or elegant or laudatory about the Deep State that Fauci and Birx so perfectly embody with respect to the public health sector.
And Birx’s book has the same nausea-inducing effect that Molly Ball’s TIME magazine article following the 2020 presidential election, which bragged about the wide-ranging conspiracy to “fortify” a rigged cycle, did. It’s a “Look What I Did!” self-expose, a braggadocios admission of guilt in flagrant dereliction of duty for which she expects credit.
For example, there is this passage…
No sooner had we convinced the Trump administration to implement our version of a two-week shutdown than I was trying to figure out how to extend it. Fifteen Days to Slow the Spread was a start, but I knew it would be just that. I didn’t have the numbers in front of me yet to make the case for extending it longer, but I had two weeks to get them. However hard it had been to get the fifteen-day shutdown approved, getting another one would be more difficult by many orders of magnitude.
So if you always knew that these guys were lying about attempting to flatten the curve and give the health care system some space to ramp up for the hospitalizations that the COVID-19 surge would cause, thanks to Deborah Birx, you have your proof.
In the book, she makes it sound like COVID-19 lockdowns were desirable for their own sake. Check out how crazy this was…
I had settled on ten knowing that even that was too many, but I figured that ten would at least be palatable for most Americans — high enough to allow for most gatherings of immediate family but not enough for large dinner parties and, critically, large weddings, birthday parties, and other mass social events.… Similarly, if I pushed for zero (which was actually what I wanted and what was required), this would have been interpreted as a “lockdown” — the perception we were all working so hard to avoid.
She actually wanted to keep people from having any in-person social interactions at all; essentially putting all of America in solitary confinement. And this is somebody Mike Pence, and, sadly, Donald Trump, didn’t immediately dismiss?
It gets worse.
At this point, I wasn’t about to use the words lockdown or shutdown. If I had uttered either of those in early March, after being at the White House only one week, the political, nonmedical members of the task force would have dismissed me as too alarmist, too doom-and-gloom, too reliant on feelings and not facts. They would have campaigned to lock me down and shut me up.
On Monday and Tuesday, while sorting through the CDC data issues, we worked simultaneously to develop the flatten-the-curve guidance I hoped to present to the vice president at week’s end. Getting buy-in on the simple mitigation measures every American could take was just the first step leading to longer and more aggressive interventions. We had to make these palatable to the administration by avoiding the obvious appearance of a full Italian lockdown. At the same time, we needed the measures to be effective at slowing the spread, which meant matching as closely as possible what Italy had done—a tall order. We were playing a game of chess in which the success of each move was predicated on the one before it.
It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to realize that Deborah Birx and her confederates on that task force were doing everything they could to lie their way into a COVID-19 lockdown.
And when I say lie, I’m not kidding. She brags about her dishonesty.
After the heavily edited documents were returned to me, I’d reinsert what they had objected to, but place it in those different locations. I’d also reorder and restructure the bullet points so the most salient—the points the administration objected to most—no longer fell at the start of the bullet points. I shared these strategies with the three members of the data team also writing these reports. Our Saturday and Sunday report-writing routine soon became: write, submit, revise, hide, resubmit.
Fortunately, this strategic sleight-of-hand worked. That they never seemed to catch this subterfuge left me to conclude that, either they read the finished reports too quickly or they neglected to do the word search that would have revealed the language to which they objected. In slipping these changes past the gatekeepers and continuing to inform the governors of the need for the big-three mitigations—masks, sentinel testing, and limits on indoor social gatherings—I felt confident I was giving the states permission to escalate public health mitigation with the fall and winter coming.
She spends a great deal of time complaining about the one thing that Trump did with respect to the COVID task force; namely, adding Dr. Scott Atlas to it. Atlas, as most of our readers know, was a voice of reason where the pandemic was concerned; he stood in the way of the alarmist COVIDiocy of Team Birx and advocated for things like reopening schools, eliminating mask mandates, and so forth. That drove Birx batty, and she writes about her efforts to mean-girl Atlas out of the task force.
This wasn’t the only bit of subterfuge I had to engage in. Immediately after the Atlas-influenced revised CDC testing guidance went up in late August, I contacted Bob Redfield…. Less than a week later, Bob [Redfield] and I had finished our rewrite of the guidance and surreptitiously posted it. We had restored the emphasis on testing to detect areas where silent spread was occurring. It was a risky move, and we hoped everyone in the White House would be too busy campaigning to realize what Bob and I had done. We weren’t being transparent with the powers that be in the White House.
[T]he guidance gambit was only the tip of the iceberg of my transgressions in my effort to subvert Scott Atlas’s dangerous positions. Ever since Vice President Pence told me to do what I needed to do, I’d engaged in very blunt conversations with the governors. I spoke the truth that some White House senior advisors weren’t willing to acknowledge. Censoring my reports and putting up guidance that negated the known solutions was only going to perpetuate Covid-19’s vicious circle. What I couldn’t sneak past the gatekeepers in my reports, I said in person.
Meaning that if your governor destroyed your business and denied you basic civil liberties during the coronavirus nightmare, you have Deborah Birx to thank for that because she was issuing guidance that Democrat, and weak Republican, state officials could run with.
We blame Fauci for giving voice to these things, and Birx was a Fauci acolyte. But it was her actions which directly brought about those state-level lockdowns and it was Fauci largely giving them air cover from his appearances on CNN and elsewhere.
Again, this happened on Pence’s watch specifically and Trump’s by extension.
As the headline says, Mike Pence should be wholly discredited as a political entity going forward for this reason. He was put in charge of the effort to fight COVID, and his performance in supervising nutcases like Deborah Birx literally couldn’t have been less damaging. Pence proved that, to put it mildly, he lacked the sand to do what was necessary in building a COVID task force of people who would do more good than harm, and unprecedented harm was what we got.
But while one wants to be sympathetic to Trump where COVID is concerned — because after all, most if not all of his instincts were correct about the virus — the fact is he didn’t give America what it needed. Trump (and Birx, and certainly Fauci) knew from the beginning that COVID-19 was a virus cooked up in a Chinese lab and then let loose, whether by accident or on purpose, and he knew that its threat level for healthy Americans not of advanced age was low, and furthermore that it was eminently survivable, and therefore the right plan was to treat COVID patients and not attempt to stop people from getting it.
But personnel is policy, as the old saying goes. And Birx’s Silent Invasion is a glaring signal that she, and the rest of the insane COVID clown posse who destroyed his administration along with the American economy and paved the way for the otherwise justifiably impossible Biden presidency from which we’re now suffering, was absolutely the wrong kind of personnel.
There has to be a lesson learned from this, particularly if Trump is the GOP nominee in 2024. Nuts like Deborah Birx have to be swept out of the government before they have the opportunity to destroy the country. And if they can’t be identified so quickly, they’ve got to be quickly dispatched when they do surface and begin doing damage. And if federal civil service laws and regulations stand in the way of that, then by all means let’s dispatch those.
It’s really just a question of political will, something the Bush Republican/Mitch McConnell Stupid Party crowd has steadfastly refused to summon up. It’s like American Spectator founder R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. said all those years ago; the Left has the political libido of a nymphomaniac, while the Right’s is more like a Victorian, if not a eunuch. And the times call for a bit of the vice versa.
The good news is that by all indications Trump understands that. As voters, we’ll want to hold him to it and support his efforts to get it fixed if he’s our next president. Our republic cannot survive future waves of Deborah Birxes.