Trump Adviser on Coronavirus Resigns

Opponent of restrictions had clashed with Fauci, Birx
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2020 8:00 PM CST
Scott Atlas Resigns as White House Virus Adviser
Dr. Scott Atlas, speaks with a reporter at the White House on Nov. 3.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A special adviser to President Trump on the pandemic, who had been criticized for his views on stopping the spread of the coronavirus, resigned Monday. Dr. Scott Atlas, who is not an infectious disease expert, got the job in August after Trump saw his appearances on Fox News, the Hill reports. During his brief tenure, Atlas told the people of Michigan they should "rise up" against coronavirus restrictions, criticized restrictions on Russian state television, and posted on Twitter that face masks don't work—a tweet that was blocked. In his resignation letter, per Fox, he told Trump, "As time went on, like all scientists and health policy scholars, I learned new information and synthesized the latest data from around the world, all in an effort to provide you with the best information to serve the greater public good."

As a special government employee, Atlas was hired for a 130-day tenure that would have ended this week. He made his resignation effective Tuesday. The neuroradiologist had butted heads with White House Coronavirus Task Force members, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, per the AP. Before the holiday, per NBC, he suggested Americans enjoy Thanksgiving in large groups because it might be the last one for some people. Atlas' other employer, Stanford University, at one point issued a statement disavowing his positions. Atlas "has expressed views that are inconsistent with the university’s approach in response to the pandemic," Stanford said, while confirming that it supports "using masks, social distancing, and conducting surveillance and diagnostic testing." (More Scott Atlas stories.)

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