By David McLoone
Coordinator of the White House COVID-19 Task Force Dr. Deborah Birx defied her own travel guidance over the Thanksgiving break by visiting one of her holiday homes on Fenwick Island, Delaware. Birx had previously told CBS’s Face the Nation that people “need to not go to these places” and that they should “take it upon [themselves] to be restrictive.”
In her interview, Birx addressed “every American,” declaring that “this is the moment to protect yourself and your family.” Following this, she advised that “if your governor or your mayor isn’t doing the policies that we know are critical, masking, physical distancing, avoiding bars, avoiding crowded indoor areas, if those restrictions don’t exist in your state,” then individuals should “be vigilant” and restrict celebrations to “your immediate household.”
“If your family traveled, you have to assume that you are exposed and you became infected,” she warned, adding that “you need to avoid anyone in your family with comorbidities.” Birx also offered strong guidelines to areas that have recorded higher infection rates: “the first thing you should do is close spaces where people cannot wear a mask,” specifically “bars and indoor restaurants.”
In what would turn out to be a self-referential condemnation, Birx said, “Some people may have made mistakes over the Thanksgiving time period” and that those who erred “need to assume you are infected.”
Birx has since come under fire after not taking her own strict advice. She admitted in a statement to the Associated Press that she had traveled to a secondary property in Delaware over Thanksgiving but denied that she was there to celebrate. She instead claims that the purpose of her visit was “solely focused on preparing the property for a potential sale.” The members of her “immediate family” who were there apparently “assisted in that as well.”
Birx had four generations of her family with her from at least two different households, despite her advice that families should keep to their immediate households.
Birx is far from the only public official who has been caught flouting her own lockdown instructions. Gavin Newsom, the Democrat governor of California, was last month spied sitting down to dinner with a group of senior medical officials “from several other households.”
Newsom had put in place an order declaring “gatherings that include more than three households … prohibited. This includes everyone present, including hosts and guests.” Restrictions also include physical distancing and wearing a mask, but while out celebrating, Newsom was snapped rubbing shoulders with his fellow diners, all without masks.
The woman who took the photos said she “was able to document this especially since nobody was wearing a mask. It was a very large group of people shoulder to shoulder, something that he’s always telling us not to do so yeah it was a bit annoying for sure.”
Notably, among the guests at the party with Newsom were Janus Norman and Dustin Corcoran, two high-ranking officials in the California Medical Association (CMA). Both of the CMA officials were also mask-less despite the CMA’s recent propaganda video that claimed that “[a]nti-mask and anti-science fanatics are endangering our kids, our jobs, our future.”
While Birx defended her decision to contravene travel restrictions, Newsom made a public apology for his defiant dinner date after being caught. Political commentators were quick to criticize the apology video, claiming that it appears more like an opportunity to excuse himself of any wrongdoing than a heartfelt apology.
Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire noted that the first “44 seconds [consisted] of excuses before he even started to intimate that he had done anything wrong,” with Newsom describing that the event was a “50th birthday” party for a “friend that [he’s] known for almost 20 years.”
Nancy Pelosi and Chris Cuomo have also been on the receiving end of criticism over their respective hypocrisies. Britain’s Neil Ferguson, who is responsible for the computer-model research that prompted the U.K.’s national lockdown in March, was also caught red-handed breaking restrictions.