Dr. Scott Atlas called for districts across America to "open up in-person schools ASAP" in his first in-person interview since resigning as a special adviser to President Trump on the coronavirus pandemic.
"The point isn't that I was right," Atlas told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Monday. "The point isn't that the advice I gave the president was right. The point isn't that the president was right [about reopening schools], although those things are true.
"The point is that we really need to open up in-person schools ASAP because it's so destructive, so harmful to children," Atlas added. "And there's really nothing more important for a country that I can think of than educating our children, of course."
Atlas joined the administration in August after gaining prominence in the media as a critic of lockdowns and other measures. He joined Carlson to discuss calls by White House task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci to "close the bars and keep the schools open" in response to an increase in coronavirus cases across the country.
"We're living in an extremely polarized time ..." Atlas said while discussing criticism of his early calls to keep schools open and limit lockdowns. "It's an election year. We have social media where people go sort of ballistic and feel empowered to do so ...
"I think it's there's a serious problem, honestly, in the country because there's a bigger issue here, and that is that America and its universities really need to allow -- without attack, without rebuke, without intimidation -- the free exchange of ideas, because it is from the free exchange of ideas that scientific truths follow," he added. "And these scientific truths are critical for us to solve this crisis, every other crisis and in fact, the free exchange of ideas is honestly the foundation of every civilized society."
Atlas concluded his interview by warning that the pandemic had shown that "objective journalism is nearly dead and ... science has been politicized and it's very, very dangerous."
"I think we should all be very concerned about it," he added. "Let's put it that way."