Birx flouted own strict travel warnings, took her family to Delaware Thanksgiving weekend

Purpose of family visit wasn't to celebrate holiday, White House coronavirus coordinator explained, but to winterize home before a potential sale.

Updated: December 21, 2020 - 8:46am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, traveled alongside several generations of her family to a vacation property in Delaware over the Thanksgiving holiday, according an Associated Press report.

Her actions flouted the guidance she herself had dispensed to the American public ahead of the holiday weekend. She urged Americans to keep any celebrations to "your immediate household."

"Because you know, if you say it can be 10, and it’s eight people from four different families, then that probably is not the same degree of safe as 10 people from your immediate household," she told CNN's "New Day" several weeks ago.

Birx traveled to her home on Fenwick Island with her husband, her daughter, son-in-law, and two young grandchildren — members of the party came from two separate households. 

Birx released a statement defending her trip, which took place the day after Thanksgiving. "I did not go to Delaware for the purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving," she said, adding that her family needed to winterize the home before a potential sale of the property.

Previously, Birx told Americans that if they made the "mistake" of traveling over Thanksgiving, they should "assume" they have the novel coronavirus and act accordingly. 

News of Birx's trip in violation of her own advice was brought forward by Kathleen Flynn, whose brother is married to one of Dr. Birx's daughters. 

"She cavalierly violated her own guidance," said Flynn. 

Flynn's brother, Birx's daughter, and their children are presently residing in a home in Potomac owned by Dr. Birx and her husband. Also living at that residence are Birx's elderly parents, to whom Birx pays intermittent visits.

Flynn became concerned that her elderly mother was visiting the Potomac house to care for her grandchildren and then returning to her 92-year-old husband with health complications. She noted that dealing with the virus has become a source of tension for the family.