The New York Times - By Rebecca Ballhaus - Aug. 13, 2020 4:29 pm
WASHINGTON—President Trump this week tapped a new coronavirus adviser whose views on the pandemic closely align with his own. Scott Atlas, a radiologist, has called for ending lockdowns, restarting college football and reopening schools
Scott Atlas, who spoke at Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing at the White House, is a radiologist, a senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution of Stanford University and a frequent Fox News commentator. He previously served as chief of neuroradiology at the Stanford University Medical Center and has previously advised Republican presidential candidates on health care, including Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer.
“He’s just the expert,” Mr. Trump said at Wednesday’s briefing.
Democrats and some public-health officials have accused the president of ignoring the advice of his administration’s health experts during the pandemic. The addition of Dr. Atlas is unlikely to quell those concerns.
Notes on the News
In appearances on Fox News, which the president regularly watches, Dr. Atlas has made comments that echo the president’s stance on reopening the country during the pandemic, calling for ending lockdowns, restarting college football and reopening schools, and has criticized what he says is “hysteria” among Democrats about keeping schools closed.
Dr. Atlas has been the sole health adviser to attend coronavirus briefings this week with the president, who has publicly expressed skepticism of the two most prominent officials counseling him on coronavirus. Speaking for the first time at Wednesday’s briefing, Dr. Atlas said he was “just, sort of, getting involved” and praised the president for being “really focused on the very important parts of the pandemic.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere in a statement described Dr. Atlas as a world-renowned physician and said the president had brought him in to “help defeat this virus.”
“Dr. Atlas, like all of the medical experts in the administration, is working to carry out the president’s number one priority: protecting the health and safety of the American people,” Mr. Deere said.
Dr. Atlas’s addition to the White House comes as the president in recent months has marginalized Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has repeatedly sounded the alarm over coronavirus and has at times been critical of the administration’s response. Mr. Trump has called Dr. Fauci “a little bit of an alarmist.”
More recently, the president has been at times critical of Deborah Birx, the administration’s coronavirus coordinator, after she warned that the pandemic was “extraordinarily widespread” in the country. Dr. Birx had been criticized by Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), and some health officials for comments that they said had played down the severity of the virus.
“In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!” Trump tweeted last week.
Neither Dr. Birx nor Dr. Fauci have spoken at the president’s near-daily coronavirus briefing in weeks.
Republican allies of the president who have expressed skepticism about the severity of the virus and the need for widespread lockdowns in schools and businesses to counter it—including Mr. Giuliani and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh—have praised Dr. Atlas’s guidance. Mr. Limbaugh this week described Dr. Atlas as “countering Fauci.”
In a May radio interview conducted by Mr. Giuliani, Dr. Atlas said there was “zero scientific basis” for keeping K-12 schools closed, saying children had “almost no risk” from a serious illness. Public-health officials have raised concerns about children transmitting the disease to their parents and grandparents, who could be at greater risk.
Before the president asked Dr. Atlas to advise the administration, the White House frequently pointed to his comments to back up Mr. Trump’s positions. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany quoted Dr. Atlas in three briefings in July and August, most recently pointing to his comments about lockdowns preventing cancer patients from going to the doctor.
In an April interview with Fox News, Dr. Atlas said coronavirus was unlikely to affect other states the way it had affected New York, which saw tens of thousands of cases this spring. “New York was devastated for specific reasons,” he said, when asked what would stop the virus from hitting other areas in the country. “There’s a huge difference between New York and everywhere else in the country, it is simply untrue to make those parallels.”
Since then, the coronavirus count in California, Florida and Texas has outpaced the number in New York, though New York has still experienced the most deaths from the virus.
In a June interview hosted by the Hoover Institution, Dr. Atlas said that despite criticism of the president for not listening to health experts, Mr. Trump had in fact relied too much on those experts. He said the U.S. had imposed too severe restrictions by directing states to lock down and schools and businesses to close. “What we’ve done here, it’s going to take many years to recover from this,” he said.
But he also praised the Trump administration’s response, saying “there’s very little that could have been done in a realistic way, to me, given that we were blindsided, better.”
“We’re going to do much better in the next pandemic,” he added.
Write to Rebecca Ballhaus at Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com
The bottom line is for the people to regain their original, moral principles, which have intentionally been watered out over the past generations by our press, TV, and other media owned by the Illuminati/Bilderberger Group, corrupting our morals by making misbehaviour acceptable to our society. Only in this way shall we conquer this oncoming wave of evil.
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