Watch CBS News

Trump ally Scott Atlas resigns as special adviser on coronavirus

Dr. Scott Atlas resigns from White House
Dr. Scott Atlas resigns as White House coronavirus adviser 00:36

Scott Atlas, the controversial doctor who advised the president and fought against lockdowns, resigned from his post as special adviser to President Trump on Monday. The White House confirmed Atlas has resigned, but would not give a reason why.

Fox News first reported Atlas' departure. Atlas, who is not an immunologist, has made comments at times that appeared to be at odds with public health experts, including experts on the president's own Coronavirus Task Force. He's also drawn scrutiny for, among other things, encouraging Michigan's residents to "rise up" after Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced more restrictions on schools and businesses. 

Atlas recognized his disagreements with top public health experts in his resignation letter to President Trump, saying 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 poor."

"Although some may disagree with those recommendations, it is the free exchange of ideas that lead to scientific truths, which are the very foundation of any civilized society. Indeed, I cannot think of a time where safeguarding science and the scientific debate is more urgent," Atlas wrote. 

Dr. Scott Atlas
Dr. Scott Atlas is seen October 12, 2020. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

He also seemed to give a nod to President-elect Joe Biden's incoming team.

"I sincerely wish the new team all the best as they guide the nation through these trying, polarized times," Atlas wrote. "With the emerging treatments and vaccines, I remain highly optimistic that America will thrive once again and overcome the adversity of the pandemic and all that it has entailed."

Atlas was a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution before he went on leave to join the White House, but Stanford University has since issued a statement saying Atlas "has expressed views that are inconsistent with the university's approach in response to the pandemic." Atlas joined the White House in August. 

Paula Reid, Elizabeth Campbell and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.