Former Trump adviser Scott Atlas blames Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci for “headline-dominating debacles” about quack cures for Covid-19 in a new book, but fails to mention that the chief proponent of snake-oil treatments, including hydroxychloroquine and disinfectant, was the US president he faithfully served.
Atlas, a radiologist, is a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, specializing in health care policy. He joined Donald Trump’s team as a special adviser in August 2020, five months into the pandemic, but resigned less than four months later after a contentious tenure.
On December 7, his book, A Plague Upon Our House: My Fight at the Trump White House to Stop Covid from Destroying America, will be released. Bombardier Books, a conservative outlet that will also publish a memoir by Kayleigh McEnany, Trump’s fourth press secretary, is the book’s publisher.
Atlas promised reporters that he would “expose the unvarnished truth” about Trump’s Covid task force, including “a shocking lack of critical thinking about the science… a reckless abuse of public health and a moral failure in what should be expected of public health leaders.”
Birx, an army doctor, has long been a leader in the fight against Aids. As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci has served seven presidents. Both were top officials on Trump’s Covid task force. Atlas’ book is rife with criticisms of both.
Atlas accidentally sidesteps Trump when he writes about the fight against Covid before he came to the White House: “Birx and Fauci stood alongside the president during headline-dominating debacles in the Brady Press Room about using hydroxychloroquine, drinking disinfectant, ingesting bleach, and using UV light to cure the virus.” They were the task force’s sole medical input, generating the entire advisory output to the states.”
Non-governmental voices, including two billionaires, Elon Musk and Larry Ellison, touted hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial, as a Covid treatment.
Fauci has repeatedly stated that such claims should be treated with skepticism. Trump, on the other hand, was an enthusiastic supporter, disagreeing with his senior scientist and asking the public, “What do you have to lose?”
Trump even took the drug before the FDA revoked emergency use authorization, citing concerns about side effects such as “serious heart rhythm problems” and death.
Atlas’ reference to “drinking disinfectant, ingesting bleach, and using UV light” refers to the events of a memorable White House briefing in which Trump’s pronouncements – not those of his officials – went wildly awry. On Thursday, April 23, 2020, William Bryan, undersecretary for science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security, discussed a study of the effects of sun exposure and cleaning agents on the coronavirus – as applied to surfaces rather than the human body.
“And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute,” Trump said. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning because you see it gets in the lungs and does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that, so you’ll have to use medical doctors for that, but it sounds interesting to me.
So, we’ll see, but the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in a minute, is intriguing. That’s quite potent.” “Deborah, have you ever heard of that? Have you ever heard of that?” Trump inquired. Yes, the heat and light are relative to certain viruses, but are they relative to this virus?”
Atlas treats Birx and Fauci’s work for a task force that he claims Trump “never once” met or spoke with with sarcasm, criticism, and disdain in his book.
He accuses Birx of “volatile behavior” and “interrupting all who challenged her,” but says removing her was “simply not worth the risk to the upcoming election.”
Atlas, among those who have criticized Fauci, has echoed Trump’s complaint about his profile.
More than 772,000 Americans have died of Covid-19 a year after Atlas’ resignation.