White House coronavirus task force official Dr. Deborah Birx is reportedly looking to join National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci in President-elect Joe Biden's administration.
Brix reached out to Biden advisers in recent days as she tries to make the case for a role in the incoming Democratic president’s virus response effort, a person familiar with the Biden team’s personnel deliberations and a Trump administration coronavirus task force official told the Associated Press.
Both spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions.
Birx has conveyed that, at best, she envisions herself in a scaled-back role as Biden shapes his own team. Biden has already appointed transition co-chair and Obama administration alumnus Jeffrey Zients to serve as White House coronavirus coordinator.
Brix was reluctant to publicly challenge Trump, however, when he said COVID-19 would be no worse than the seasonal flu after being briefed on the disease, according to journalist Bob Woodward's book "Fear: Trump in the White House."
That reluctance has left some in Biden’s transition skeptical that she retains credibility with the public, the person familiar with Biden transition deliberations told AP.
"The president’s departure from reality become so extreme that it put her and others on the task force in an untenable position," Michael Weinstein, who heads the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and got to know Birx professionally after she was named the global AIDS coordinator in 2014, told the outlet.
"History will have to judge whether they enabled the president by giving him credibility based on their expertise or whether she and the others did more in helping prevent more people from being hurt by the craziness," he said.
Biden announced Monday that Fauci would continue to lead the next administration's COVID-19 task force.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.