The debate over Birx’s future has vexed transition officials, with advocates for the longtime public health official arguing that her experience on the front lines of the pandemic could aid a Biden administration that will be thrust into the middle of a deepening crisis.

Yet others are far more skeptical, voicing worries that her nine months as coordinator for the Trump White House’s coronavirus task force have permanently eroded her credibility — and that keeping Birx on would jeopardize Biden’s plan for selling the American public on a full reset of the federal government’s pandemic response, according to interviews with Biden’s Covid-19 advisers and others involved in the transition…

Only top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci is guaranteed to be part of Biden’s pandemic team, where he’ll likely take on an elevated role as one of the administration’s highest-profile messengers. And even among Birx’s most ardent defenders, there is acknowledgment that she cannot remain in any sort of prominent role responsible for guiding the crisis response…

“Publicly, she too often looked like an apologist,” said Gregg Gonsalves, a public health professor at Yale who has worked with Birx on HIV/AIDS issues. “It doesn’t bode well for confidence as a public leader when nobody knows what you stand for.”