“Devastatingly Worrisome”: Birx Warns Against Lockdown Protests

A sharp contrast to Trump’s ongoing support for them.

Michael Reynolds/ZUMA

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx called the scenes of angry protesters swarming Michigan’s State Capitol building last week “devastatingly worrisome.” She warned that protesters—some of whom were seen openly carrying firearms and showing off swastikas and confederate flags—risked infecting loved ones by failing to adhere to social distancing measures.

“It’s devastatingly worrisome to me, personally, because if they go home and infect their grandmother or their grandfather who has a co-morbid condition and they have a serious or very unfortunate outcome, they will feel guilty for the rest of their lives,” Birx said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “We need to protect each other at the same time we’re voicing our discontent.”

Birx’s comments on Sunday came in sharp contrast to President Donald Trump’s ongoing support for the lockdown protests, as he continues to target Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and openly encourage states to rebel against stay-at-home orders. Birx also rejected the White House’s previous projections that the pandemic could result in 60,000 deaths—a milestone the United States surpassed on Tuesday—saying that the task force’s projections have always been between 100,000 and 240,000 “with full mitigation.”

Also hitting the Sunday morning news circuit, Whitmer insisted that the protests on Thursday were not representative of the views of most Michigan residents. 

“We know that people are not all happy about having to take this state at home posture, and you know what, I’m not either,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “But the fact of the matter is that we have to listen to the epidemiologist and health experts, and displays like the one we saw at our capitol is not representative of who we are.”

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate