Just two days after the Associated Press reported on how she went against CDC-recommended guidelines on restricting travel and family gatherings during the holidays, White House coronavirus task force response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx announced she will soon be retiring.
In an interview with online media outlet “Newsy” today, Birx stated that she hoped to be able to help out in a Biden administration in whatever way she could but that she’d be stepping away once she felt like her mission was accomplished. As to the reason why she was making the sudden announcement, Birx hinted that the AP story was a big factor:
Birx alluded to the AP report in her Newsy interview Tuesday, referring to “what was done in the last week to my family.”
“You know, they didn’t choose this for me. You know, they’ve tried to be supportive. But to drag my family into this, when my daughter hasn’t left that house in 10 months, my parents have been isolated for 10 months,” Birx said.
“They’ve become deeply depressed,” she continued, “as I’m sure many elderly have, as they’ve not been able to see their sons, their granddaughters. My parents haven’t seen their surviving son for over a year. These are all very difficult things.”
NEW: Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Deborah Birx told Newsy’s @AmberCStrong that she will be as helpful as she can to the Biden transition and ultimately plans to “retire,” citing her family’s treatment over the past week. pic.twitter.com/Mnp00G4PoI
— Newsy (@Newsy) December 22, 2020
Birx’s comments about how her family was “drug into this” by the media are not true, and I say that as someone who stands second to no one in my criticisms of the MSM. The Associated Press’ initial reporting on Birx’s traveling and getting together with her family over the Thanksgiving holiday noted that it was actually an estranged family member who went to the media with the story the AP eventually broke:
Kathleen Flynn, whose brother is married to Birx’s daughter who lives in the Potomac house, said she brought forward information about Birx’s situation out of concern for her own parents, and acknowledged family friction over the matter.
“She cavalierly violated her own guidance,” Flynn said of Birx.
Kathleen Flynn said she urged her brother and sister-in-law not to allow her mother to babysit, arguing it put her mother at risk by spending so much time in a household other than her own, while also posing a danger to Birx’s elderly parents. Flynn, who said she has long had a strained relationship with her brother, is currently not on speaking terms with him and has never met Birx.
It was that family member who turned this into a story. Sure, the AP could have said “we’re not running with this” but we all know that if there’s a COVID-shaming story about a Trump administration official that can be done, reporters are not going to turn down the opportunity to blast it in deference to delicate family sensitivities.
All of this brings us back full circle to the excellent point my colleague Nick Arama made when reporting on the original story over the weekend:
Another thing this story reveals is how this whole thing has stoked division among Americans, with people literally finking on their neighbors and family to chastise them for non-compliance. In this case the person who did the finking on Birx was Kathleen Flynn, the sister of the brother-in-law who lives in the Potomac house. Flynn’s father was not concerned and said he trusted that Birx was taking proper precautions. Kathleen Flynn also then inadvertently finked on her own mother saying she’s concerned about the fact her mother visits the house, that Birx’s visits might expose her mother. Well doesn’t that mean that the mother is traveling there as well?
At what point do people get how insane all this is? Take proper precautions, as needed for your own and your family’s risk level, protect the population most at risk and open everything else up, this is madness.
If we didn’t have a major political party and a mainstream media who were obsessed with lockdowns (except when it comes to themselves), sensible safety measures could have been been put in place everywhere long ago – as has been done in Republican-run states like Florida, Texas, and South Dakota – in order for people to be able to be safe while working to provide for their families and living their lives without the loneliness and depression that have become so prevalent in our society since the pandemic started. Birx even alluded to that during another part of the Newsy interview.
In reality, what is wrong about this whole situation involving Birx is the guidelines that are in place that urge people to basically stay isolated away from their families and society in general in the first place.
Birx got hoisted by her own petard here, so please don’t think I’m rushing to her defense. But this story is a classic example of just how out of control the lockdowns and shaming tactics against the non-compliant have become.
We wouldn’t be hearing (nor caring) about Birx’s travels at all (nor anyone else’s) had Democrat-run states not implemented draconian mandates in the first place that have ended pitting people against each other, and had Birx not insisted people avoid doing the normal holiday things that she herself turned around and did anyway.