The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was overheard disparaging President Donald Trump's new favorite coronavirus adviser.
CDC director Robert Redfield was overheard by an NBC News reporter laying into Dr. Scott Atlas after taking a personal call on a commercial flight, and he later confirmed he was speaking about the physician who has questioned the effectiveness of masks and promoted the deadly "herd immunity" strategy.
"Everything he says is false," Redfield said during the overheard phone call.
Redfield suggested during the call that Atlas, a neuroradiologist who has no background in infectious diseases or public health, was providing the president with misleading information about COVID-19.
"NBC News is reporting one side of a private phone conversation by CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield that was overheard on a plane from Atlanta Hartsfield airport," the CDC confirmed in a statement. "Dr. Redfield was having a private discussion regarding a number of points he has made publicly about COVID-19."
The White House said the president makes decisions based on consultation with a number of advisers, including Atlas, who told NBC News that his recommendations are based on medical science.
"Everything I have said is directly from the data and the science," Atlas said. "It echoes what is said by many of the top medical scientists in the world, including those at Stanford, Harvard and Oxford."