Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump

Scott AtlasScott AtlasOvernight Health Care: Trump admin makes changes to speed vaccinations | CDC to order negative tests for international travelers | More lawmakers test positive after Capitol siege Joe Biden needs a new communications strategy The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress slogs toward COVID-19 relief, omnibus deal MORE turned in his resignation on Monday from his role as a special adviser to President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report MORE on the coronavirus, capping off a controversial tenure in which he gained considerable influence while pushing questionable approaches to combating the pandemic. 

Atlas joined the administration in August as a special government employee, meaning he was eligible to serve a 130-day detail. His tenure was slated to expire this week, but he filed his resignation, effective Tuesday, a White House official confirmed on Monday evening.

“I worked hard with a singular focus—to save lives and help Americans through this pandemic,” Atlas wrote in his resignation letter.


“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,” he wrote. “But, perhaps more than anything, my 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.”

The exit was first reported by Fox News.


Atlas, who joined the administration after Trump noticed him during Fox News appearances, attracted controversy for his influence over the president's thinking on the pandemic. He is not an infectious diseases expert, and he pushed the widely disputed herd immunity theory in which some argue that older, at-risk populations should be protected while younger, healthier people would be free of restrictions. 

Several other members of the White House coronavirus task force raised concerns about Atlas or openly disputed his views.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield was overheard ripping Atlas on a flight; White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah BirxDeborah BirxBirx says she regularly considered quitting Pence delivers coronavirus task force report to Biden Slew of Biden orders on COVID-19 to include resuming WHO membership MORE confronted Vice President Pence about Atlas's increasing influence; and Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care — Fauci: Lack of facts 'likely' cost lives in coronavirus fight | CDC changes COVID-19 vaccine guidance to allow rare mixing of Pfizer, Moderna shots | Senate chaos threatens to slow Biden's agenda Fauci infuriated by threats to family Poll: Plurality of voters say coronavirus vaccine rollout slower than expected MORE, the government's top infectious diseases expert, said earlier this month he "totally" disagreed with Atlas's views.

Atlas's colleagues at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University also distanced themselves from the White House adviser earlier this month.

Trump has all but moved on from the pandemic response since losing the election to President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Fauci infuriated by threats to family MORE earlier this month. He has spoken periodically about progress on vaccine development, but has otherwise paid little public attention to rising infection rates, surging hospitalizations and mounting deaths from the virus. Millions of Americans contracted the coronavirus in November alone. 

—Updated at 8:14 p.m.