- Dr. Scott Atlas, who served as a special advisor to President Donald Trump, resigned from the White House coronavirus task force on Monday.
- Atlas joined the task force in August as a special government employee, meaning his role in the task force was temporary and would not exceed 130 days.
- Atlas' push to reopen the US has sparked backlash from critics, including the top US infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and CDC Director Robert Redfield.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Dr. Scott Atlas resigned from the White House coronavirus task force on Monday.
Atlas, who served as a special advisor to President Donald Trump, joined the task force in August as a special government employee, meaning his role in the task force was temporary and would not exceed 130 days. His tenure was set to expire this week, according to a Fox News report.
The White House confirmed Atlas' resignation but declined to comment further.
"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," Atlas wrote in a resignation letter obtained by Fox News.
"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."
In the letter, Atlas touted the work of the coronavirus task force alongside those he described as "several selfless colleagues in designing specific policies to heighten protection of the vulnerable while safely reopening schools and society."
Atlas' controversial advice — including his push against states' lockdowns and mask mandates — sparked backlash from critics.
At the end of October, Atlas slammed stay-at-home orders during an interview with a Russian propaganda outlet, saying that "lockdowns will go down as an epic failure of public policy" and that they "are killing people." He later apologized for granting the outlet, RT, an interview.
Earlier in October, a tweet from Atlas casting doubt on the efficacy of masks was removed from Twitter.
"Twitter seems to be censoring the science if it goes against their own goals of public indoctrination," Atlas said in response at the time.
More recently, Atlas sparred with the top US infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, over the production of a COVID-19 vaccine, calling Fauci a "political animal" for what Atlas described as Fauci's "upbeat" tone on the pandemic following Election Day.
"There's all kinds of prognostications that were made, all negative, all to undermine what the reality of the timelines were, all to undermine the president," Atlas said during an interview with the Fox News host Laura Ingraham. "Once you do that sort of thing and make yourself a political animal basically, you lose your credibility."
"Well maybe he's cheered up because of the election," he added.
Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was once reportedly overheard saying "everything" Atlas said was "false."
Atlas told Business Insider's Ashley Collman in October that he thought much of the criticism toward him "stems from people who are either politically motivated or are interested in maintaining their own stature in the public eye."
In his resignation letter, which Fox News said was dated December 1, Atlas congratulated the work of the team behind Operation Warp Speed — the US government program to help develop a vaccine — saying the team "delivered on our promised timelines for new drugs and vaccines."
"I congratulate you for your vision, and also congratulate the many who did the exemplary work — we know who they are, even though their names are not those familiar to the public," Atlas wrote.
He also wished the Biden-Harris administration well.
"With the emerging treatments and vaccines," he wrote, according to Fox News, "I remain highly optimistic that America will thrive once again and overcome the adversity of the pandemic and all that it has entailed."