Dr. Scott Atlas, Presidential Advisor
Dr. Scott Atlas quickly earned a reputation as Trump’s anti-lockdown coronavirus advisor.
He joined the White House coronavirus task force in August in a temporary role after Trump saw him on Fox News.
He resigned in December. He said in a resignation letter his “advice was always focused on minimizing all the harms from both the pandemic and the structural policies themselves, especially to the working class and the poor.”
But during his tenure he was reportedly a chief advocated of letting the nation develop “herd immunity,” a strategy many experts questioned, because it would have sent the death toll skyrocketing.
Despite his influence, he did not have a specialty in either infectious diseases or public health.
In October, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was “sitting” on $9 billion earmarked for COVID-19 testing because Atlas was opposed to expanding the testing regime.
Trump had repeatedly falsely claimed that the U.S. COVID rate was so high because of an aggressive testing campaign. Atlas tried to back him up.
In September, more than 100 of Atlas’ former colleagues at Stanford Medical School signed a letter warning that his “opinions bucked established science.” Even Bill Gates said he was espousing “crackpot” theories.
Atlas also openly clashed with the nation’s leading epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other leading health experts.
In mid-November, Atlas crossed a line when he tweeted that the citizens of Michigan should “rise up” against new coronavirus restrictions in the state. He later walked back the comment.
In addition to opposing lockdowns, he also decried the use of masks and insisted they were ineffective. Scientific studies have proven otherwise.