White House coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas slams Fauci as a 'political animal' for sounding 'upbeat' over COVID-19 vaccine results

  • Scott Atlas, a coronavirus adviser to President Donald Trump, slammed Dr. Anthony Fauci as "a political animal" on Tuesday.
  • Atlas appeared on Fox News with host Laura Ingraham, who commented on Fauci's "upbeat" tone on the coronavirus pandemic since Election Day.
  • Fauci on Tuesday predicted that a vaccine will hopefully be available to Americans by April, following drugmaker Pfizer's positive news about its coronavirus vaccine candidate.
  • "Well maybe he's cheered up because of the election," Atlas said.
  • Since Atlas joined the White House coronavirus task force, tensions between him and other members, including Fauci, have escalated.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Scott Atlas, a coronavirus adviser to President Donald Trump, slammed Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday as "a political animal," hours after the country's top infectious disease expert provided his latest verdict on the state of the pandemic. 

Atlas made the comments during a nightly appearance on Fox News with host Laura Ingraham, who claimed Fauci has taken on an "upbeat" tone toward the virus since Election Day.

She compared a clip of Fauci from late October in which he said the United States likely won't see "semblances of normality" until 2022 to an interview of him on Tuesday when he predicted that a vaccine will hopefully be available to Americans by April. 

"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. "Once you do that sort of thing and make yourself a political animal basically, you lose your credibility."

However, Fauci's remarks on a COVID-19 vaccine came after drugmaker Pfizer announced on Monday that its coronavirus vaccine candidate completed its final stage of clinical trials with a 90% efficacy rate. 

"This is very good news looking forward," Fauci said on Monday, adding that the results are "extraordinary" and "have a major impact on everything that we do with regard to COVID."

Still, Atlas pushed back on Fauci, adding to a string of baseless attacks from the White House that public health officials and pharmaceutical companies are working against Trump to harm his political standing. Trump has falsely accused Fauci of being a Democrat and called him a "disaster," as the two have often not seen eye-to-eye on the federal coronavirus response. 

"Well maybe [Fauci's] cheered up because of the election," Atlas said.

Atlas also repeated an unfounded claim from Trump that Pfizer deliberately withheld coronavirus vaccine data from the public until after Election Day. Trump lost the election last week to President-elect Joe Biden, Insider and Decision Desk HQ projected on November 6. 

Atlas frequently appeared on Fox News echoing the president's views on the pandemic before the Trump administration tapped him to join the White House coronavirus task force. Since his arrival in August, tensions between him and Fauci, as well as task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, have escalated based on conflicting views on how to tackle the virus.

Atlas, who has no background in epidemiology, has reportedly tried to push a controversial "herd immunity" strategy, which Fauci and Birx have argued could potentially lead to higher death rates. A senior administration official previously told The Washington Post that Atlas has positioned himself as an "anti-Dr. Fauci."

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