Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said on Tuesday that she will not seek a role in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
She cited concerns about the treatment of her family after reports surfaced that she traveled to join family over Thanksgiving weekend after publicly discouraging Americans from making trips during the recent holiday.
“I will be helpful in any role that people think I can be helpful in and then I will retire,” Birx told Newsy in a clip of an interview posted on Tuesday morning.
EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Deborah Birx tells @newsy that she is willing to help with the #Biden transition but ultimately plans to retire, citing her family's treatment over the past week. pic.twitter.com/yEPy9s0Tf9
— Amber Strong TV (@AmberCStrong) December 22, 2020
Birx said that her experience serving on the task force has been “overwhelming” and has placed particular strain on her daughter and parents, who faced backlash for Thanksgiving plans that went against guidelines set in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Before departing for her own festivities, which included a trip to one of her vacation properties on Fenwick Island in Delaware a day after Thanksgiving, Birx had publicly urged Americans to “be vigilant” and limit celebrations to “your immediate household.”
Days later, Birx was joined by three generations of her family from two households, including her husband, a daughter, son-in-law and two young grandchildren, according to the Associated Press.
“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, they’ve become deeply depressed, as I’m sure many elderly have,” the health official said Tuesday, appearing to respond to the reports about her holiday gatherings. “These are all very difficult things.”
Birx’s revelation that she will not seek a role in the incoming administration is a departure from her earlier remarks. Last month, Birx reportedly expressed a desire to maintain a key role on the White House coronavirus task force when President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated in January.
While Dr. Anthony Fauci’s continued presence on Biden’s incoming task force was locked in earlier this month, a path forward was less clear for his colleague. One transition official had even told Politico last month that the President-elect’s team intended to do some “house cleaning” amid the transition from COVID-19 advisers appointed by President Donald Trump.