EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump COVID special advisor Dr. Scott Atlas slammed Dr. Deborah Birx for her reported testimony to congressional investigators as "an Orwellian attempt to rewrite history," defending his work on the Trump COVID-19 task force, and telling Fox News that history's "biggest failure of public health policy lies directly at the hands of" officials who recommended lockdowns during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.
Birx testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis earlier this month, saying that officials in former President Trump's White House did not take steps to push mask-wearing, social distancing and other mitigation steps that could have prevented thousands of COVID-19 deaths.
Birx also reportedly slammed Atlas, saying he advocated for letting COVID-19 spread through the population to reach herd immunity. The New York Times reported Birx testified that she repeatedly raised her concerns about Atlas' positions and theories to other doctors on the task force.
Atlas, defending his work to Fox News, said during his time at the White House, he recommended policies "designed to reduce both the spread of the infection to the vulnerable and the harms of the policies themselves to those impacted the most-- low-income families, the working class of America, and our children."
Atlas, delivering a point-by-point rebuttal to reports of Birx's testimony about his role, told Fox News that her claim that he advised Trump to "let the infection spread widely without mitigation to achieve herd immunity," telling Fox News that "is false."
"I never advised the president, the Task Force, or anyone else while in Washington to allow the virus to spread," Atlas said. "Dozens of my writings and interviews during my Washington service explicitly called for specific mitigations, including social distancing, extra hygiene, and masks when not able to socially distance, and 'focused protection,' a heightened protection of those at risk, to allow a safe opening and end the public health destruction from lockdowns."
Atlas told Fox News that "it is not a surprise that Dr. Birx, the official Task Force Coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force from late February, 2020 through January 19, 2021, might want to blame others for the failure of her policies," adding that, in her position, she "held the authority over the official federal advice on medical policy."
Atlas said Birx "personally detailed the state of the pandemic" during all task force meetings, and COVID meetings attended by top Trump advisors, adding that Birx "composed in writing and communicated all recommendations from the Task Force to every state."
"I visited only one state, Florida, during my time in Washington," Atlas said.
"It is an Orwellian attempt to rewrite history to blame those who criticized the lockdowns that were widely implemented for the failure of the lockdowns that were widely implemented," he said, adding that Birx's recommendations "were implemented by governors throughout nearly the entire nation during 2020."
"Those policies failed to stop the dying, failed to stop the infection from spreading, and inflicted massive health damage and destruction, particularly on working class and lower-income families and on our children," Atlas told Fox News. "History's biggest failure of public health policy lies directly at the hands of those who recommended the lockdowns and those who implemented them, not on those who advised otherwise. Period."
Atlas jointed the Trump White House COVID-19 Task Force in August 2020 as a special government employee, serving just a 130-day detail. Atlas' role expired in November 2020.
Atlas was criticized throughout his time at the White House for advocating for a reopening, while blasting COVID-19 lockdowns as "extremely harmful" to Americans.
Meanwhile, last week, Republican House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said a memo by Republican leadership on the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis outlining Birx’s closed-door congressional testimony confirms the world was "misled" on the origins of COVID-19.
"President Biden and Democrats have politicized Covid from the start and refused to acknowledge its origins from China," Scalise told Fox News in a statement. "Republicans have been sounding the alarm on these issues for well over year, and Dr. Birx’s closed-door testimony confirms that the world was misled."
The memo highlights several of Birx’s testimonial revelations, including that there were preventable deaths and that "neither the federal government or state and local governments are doing everything that they could at this moment." According to Republicans on the committee, Birx also testified about the importance of coordinating with state and local leaders.
According to the memo, Birx took aim at China’s role in suppressing information on the virus to the World Health Organization (WHO) at the onset of the pandemic, saying she believes "that there had to be evidence of human-to-human transmission weeks before the WHO or the world was notified" and that China "misled" the world on the virus.
The doctor also said she believed that China was giving false information to the WHO on the virus, resulting in a delay of two weeks before worldwide confirmation of human-to-human transmission of COVID-19.
Fox News' Houston Keene contributed to this report.