Dr Scott Atlas, a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force, clarified his tweet over the weekend, urging Michigan citizens to “stand up” to new COVID-19 restrictions on Monday after President-elect Joe Biden raised the issue. press conference.
“Well, adding to the list of things I’m not, am I not very good on Twitter and I take responsibility for what I wrote on Twitter,” Atlas told The Story host Martha McAllum. “I didn’t think anything, I think people draw conclusions from that, and I clarified it right away.”
Atlas faced harsh criticism Sunday night for encouraging his nearly 90,000 Twitter followers to “rise up”
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“The only way to stop this is if people rise up,” Atlas writes. “You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp”
In a subsequent tweet, Atlas stressed that he did not intend to incite violence: “Hey. “I NEVER NEVER talked about violence,” he wrote. People are voting, people are protesting peacefully. I would NEVER support or incite violence. NEVER !! “
Atlas, who is often concerned about the debilitating effects of the blockade, told MacCallum that he had no intention of inciting a “mass pandemonium,” but that he was signaling to Michigan residents that “if you want to change things, you must have voices heard.” “
“What I meant was in response to literally thousands of emails I receive from people all over the country asking me to figure out how to break the locks,” he said.
“I get emails, I would say, you know, every few weeks from someone who has had a family member commit suicide because of the locks,” he added. “There are people who are asking me to do everything I can to end the blockades. So what I meant – and I’m sorry, I’m not very articulate on Twitter – is actually, if you want to change things, you have your voices to be heard. I didn’t mean anything more than that. I think this is obvious in the United States. I did not want to threaten or incite violence. “
Atlas continued: “I wanted to say that if you want, it will come from the people. The government will not end the blockades. This is a state issue, not a federal issue.”
Whitmer, who was allegedly targeted for kidnapping because of her earlier restrictions, told MSNBC earlier Monday that the Atlas tweet “actually took my breath away.”
Biden himself addressed the comments during a press conference Monday afternoon, telling reporters: “The idea that the president already exists, a remaining COVID adviser, says they have to resist – what the hell is going on with these guys?
“What’s wrong with them?” Biden said. “Resist? Every major person with any health consequences says we can save 100,000 lives right now and January 21 by wearing these masks. . “
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Atlas warned of an impending winter jump in COVID-19 cases, arguing that “when you close – and because we have countries that restrict business, limit activities, we have forced cases to pile up this season when you can’t have social distance . That is why it is more dangerous now that we have delayed cases from occurring in the winter, “he said.
“Yes, I agree that we need to have activities outside, yes. I agree that we need ventilation. Yes, we need to reduce indoor activities to large groups, to use social distancing, we need to protect our vulnerable high-risk elderly members. family. All these things I completely agree with … “, he explained.
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“But what’s the problem, I don’t agree with closing schools. I don’t agree that you shouldn’t have personal education. I don’t want to see the figure that one in four Americans, students, one in four between the ages of 18 and 24 has remembered to commit suicide. ”
Stanford University, where Atlas is on leave as a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, said Monday night that Atlas’ tweets “reflect his personal views, not those of the Hoover Institute or the university.”
“Stanford’s position on pandemic management in our community is clear. We support the use of masks, social distancing and the conduct of surveillance and diagnostic tests,” the statement said. “We also believe in the importance of strictly following the instructions of local and state health authorities.”