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Who Is Deborah Birx's Husband, Paige Reffe?

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Who Is Deborah Birx's Husband, Paige Reffe?

We have all gotten used to seeing Deborah Birx standing in the White House press room to bring the scientific expertise to COVID-19 briefings. Birx is a long-time global health expert who has spent most of her career focused on HIV/AIDS immunology, vaccine research, and global health. Before being appointed to the White House task force on COVID-19, she was U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator where she oversees the implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). 

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Like a lot of Washington insiders, Birx is married to someone in a similar field. While Birx is an expert in public health, her husband is an expert in public policy. Paige Reffe is an attorney who has significant experience in planning global government summits. He was even a top-level staffer for President Bill Clinton and helped plan major summits with world leaders.

Who is Deborah Birx's husband, Paige Reffe?

Paige Reffe is from Georgia.

Reffe is from Georgia and studied at Emory University for both his undergraduate and law degrees. After finishing law school in 1976, he joined fellow Georgian, President Jimmy Carter, in Washington DC, as a political appointee at the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration. He dealt mainly with management structures while he was there but eventually moved over to the tax law department in the Department of Justice before working as the Chief of Staff to Congressman and alter Senator Tim Wirth of Colorado.

Birx is married to Paige Reffe.

Paige Reffe did advance work for President Clinton.

After spending a few years working private practice in the late 1980s, Reffe went back to public service as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Advance at the White House. That isn't a policy role, but it is an important one. As Reffe explained to reporters in 2000, the job involves planning for all kinds of events the President is going to attend. "Advance people worry about all the details of presidential or presidential candidate travel. From who sits where on the motorcade, to how you communicate the message," Reffe said. "They deal with who gets invited to events, who sits on the podium, who speaks and when. They deal with lighting, press filing centers, coordinating with security and balancing local political interests with national ones."

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Reffe came under fire ... literally.

Working for a President is a job that comes with its share of excitement. Reffe talks about meeting incredible world leaders and getting to travel to some of the most interesting places in the world. It also comes with a side of risk. Reffe shared one story about planning a trip for President Clinton to visit troops in Sarajevo in 1995. The routine advance team had to first survive a very dangerous flight.

"We took a site survey team to Sarajevo to assess the situation. The only way to get to Bosnia was on a military cargo plane — long benches, strapped to the sides for seats. While flying from Sarajevo to Tuzla we were laser targeted for mortar fire," Reffe recalls. "The plane did things I didn't know a plane could do. We dropped thousands of feet in seconds, shot off flares and other assorted diversionary tactics. Thankfully, it worked and we landed safely."

After that experience, Reffe had to go back and tell the President that it simply wasn't safe enough for him to visit the troops there at that time. Clinton, accompanied by Reff,e was able to visit Sarajevo in 1997 under safer conditions. 

Paige Reffe formed his own firm in 2000.

After years of working on events for the President, Reffe left the White House to open his own shop. In 2000, he established the Reffe Group, which specializes in planning major events. His firm was responsible for planning a number of government events in Eastern European countries like Latvia, Romania, and Lithuania during the early years of the 21st century. 

He is in law practice now.

These days, Reffe works as a lawyer running his own practice. He specializes in legislative practice, according to one professional site, which probably means he is a policy advisor for clients. He was a registered lobbyist until 2004, though there are no recent filings for lobbying work under his name. 

Deborah Birx and Paige Reffe lives with Birx's parents.

Dr. Birx has shared with the public that she and Reffe have an intergenerational home. Both of her parents, who are in their 90s, live with the couple in Maryland. Birx's adult daughter and her husband and kids also live with them. In an article about Birx, the author notes that Reffe can often be spotted snuggling one of their very young grandchildren. 

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.