‘Everything’ White House Task Force Adviser Who Sided With Trump Over Masks Says ‘Is False,” CDC Director Tells Colleague

Members of the White House’s coronavirus task force don’t always see eye to eye, and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), isn’t keen on comments the newest addition has been making.

Redfield, who has been a member of the task force since its inception, told a colleague during a September 25 phone call that “everything” Dr. Scott Atlas says “is false.” Atlas was added to the task force in August, and Redfield warned a colleague during the phone conversation, which was overheard by NBC News, that he was misleading President Donald Trump with data about mask efficacy, herd immunity benefits and who is at risk.

Atlas contradicted Redfield’s sworn testimony last Wednesday that the data shows more than 90 percent of the U.S. population is still susceptible to the new coronavirus. Atlas said during a briefing that same day that Redfield “misstated something” and added that the CDC’s state-by-state data “is old.” Atlas also said immunity to the infection is not “solely determined by the percentage of people who have antibodies” but also by cross-immunity from other infections.

“So the answer is no, it is not 90 percent of people that are susceptible to the infection,” Atlas said, adding that people are “supposed to believe the science and I’m telling you the science.”

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Redfield and Atlas also broke on the usage of masks. The CDC director told a Senate panel on September 16 that wearing a mask was one of the “most powerful tools” American have right now.

robert redfield scott atlas cdc trump coronavirus
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield testifies at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the federal response to the coronavirus on September 23.
Alex Edelman/ POOL/AFP/Getty

Redfield told senators on September 23 that it’s important to use masks if a vaccine is only 50 percent effective, because it’ll give immunity to only half the population.

In response, Trump, who called Redfield about his comment that masks could be more effective than a vaccine, said that a mask “perhaps helps” and that Redfield had “made a mistake,” a stance that Atlas supported.

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“There’s no sound science that shows that you should have all populations wear masks in all circumstances…and that is very much in concert with what is posted on the World Health Organization website and that’s very much in concert with the president’s own policy,” Atlas told CNN on September 18.

Newsweek reached out to Atlas, the CDC and the office of Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the task force, for comments but did not receive responses in time for publication.

Trump, who is regularly tested for the coronavirus, started wearing a mask only in the summer and faced criticism for not embracing facial coverings earlier, in order to lead by example. He pushed back on mask wearing, often citing the earliest months of the outbreak when experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of

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Sarah Sanders describes former WH colleague as a ‘foulmouthed Jew’

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary, describes one of her former colleagues as a “foulmouthed Jew” in her new memoir. 
  • Josh Raffel was brought on to the White House communications team by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, and Sanders describes him as “liberal.” 
  • Sanders said she and Raffel eventually became close friends during their time working together. Raffel left the White House in 2018. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders describes one of her former colleagues as a “foulmouthed Jew” in her new memoir. 

In “Speaking for Myself: Faith Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House,” Sanders describes former White House communications team colleague Josh Raffel as “a liberal, aggressive, foulmouthed Jew from New York City,” according to Jewish Insider, which obtained a preview copy of the book. 

Despite being “pretty much his total opposite,” Sanders, born in Hope, Arkansas, says she grew to love Raffel during their time working together.

“He is one of the funniest people I know, intensely loyal, and probably the most talented communications strategist I’ve ever worked with,” Sanders writes. “Nobody in the White House could work a story better than Josh, and he was always one of the first colleagues I turned to for help on the toughest assignments.” 

During his time working at the White House, Raffel was the spokesperson for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. He left the White House in 2018, returning to his work as a senior vice president of Hiltzik Strategies and head of marketing and communications at Blumhouse Productions. 

Jewish Insider reached out to Raffel about Sanders’ book, and he described her as a “close friend.” 

In another chapter of the book, President Trump told Sanders to go to North Korea and take “one for the team” after Kim Jong Un appeared to wink at her, she said in a new memoir, according to The Guardian.

Sanders said that during a summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore in 2018, “Kim nodded and appeared to wink at me.”

“Well, Sarah, that settles it. You’re going to North Korea and taking one for the team!” Trump told her, Sanders said. “Your husband and kids will miss you, but you’ll be a hero to your country!”

Sanders served as White House Press Secretary under President Trump from 2017 to 2019. 

 

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