Bill Gates Says Trump Administration Hired Scott Atlas Because 'He Agrees With Their Crackpot Theories'

Bill Gates has claimed Scott Atlas was only appointed as a White House coronavirus advisor because he agrees with the Trump administration's "crackpot theories."

The Microsoft co-founder, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $350 million to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, made the comments in an interview with health news website STAT in which he strongly criticized the administration's response to the crisis.

Gates told STAT: "The administration's now hired this Stanford guy who has no background at all just because he agrees with their crackpot theories."

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Bill Gates delivers a speech during the conference of Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria on October 10, 2019, in Lyon, central eastern France. The Microsoft co-founder's foundation has warned that COVID-19 has set back progress on global development. LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images

Atlas, a senior fellow at the conservative-leaning Hoover Institute at Stanford University, became an advisor to the Trump administration in August. The appointment of the neuroradiologist, who is not an expert in infectious disease or epidemiology, was viewed by some as an attempt to counter the opinions of Coronavirus Task Force members such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. Throughout the pandemic, Fauci has been careful not to openly criticize Trump while correcting false claims.

Last week, 78 of Atlas' former colleagues at the Stanford University School of Medicine signed a letter denouncing claims he made about the pandemic, stating they had a "moral and an ethical responsibility to call attention to the falsehoods and misrepresentations of science recently fostered" by him.

In the STAT interview, Gates said the U.S. outbreak "has been a mismanaged situation every step of the way." He went on: "It's shocking. It's unbelievable—the fact that we would be among the worst in the world."

Newsweek has contacted Scott Atlas and the White House for comment.

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Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist from Stanford's Hoover Institution who joined the White House as a pandemic adviser last month, listens as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House on September 10, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

For months, the U.S. has led the world for coronavirus cases and deaths, at over 6.5 million and 194,536, respectively, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, more than 29.2 million people have been infected by the coronavirus, and 928,403 have died.

The STAT interview was published the day that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released its 2020 Goalkeepers Report. It warned the COVID-19 pandemic had triggered "mutually exacerbating catastrophes" around the world, and set back vaccine coverage "about 25 years in about 25 weeks."

The report by Gates and his wife Melinda, a former Microsoft general manager, read: "In past editions of the Goalkeepers Report—almost every time we have opened our mouths or put pen to paper, in fact—we have celebrated decades of historic progress in fighting poverty and disease.

"But we have to confront the current reality with candor: This progress has now stopped. In this report, we track 18 indicators included in the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In recent years, the world has improved on every single one. This year, on the vast majority, we've regressed."

Gates told The New York Times he hoped the lost ground could be regained "in two to three years."