A source familiar with what happened told CNN that Atlas handed over his letter of resignation to President Donald Trump on Monday. As a private government employee, Atlas had a 130-day window in which he could serve, and that window was nearing its end this week.
Atlas posted a photo of his resignation letter on Twitter later on Monday. “His advice has always been focused on minimizing all damage from the pandemic and the structural policies themselves, especially for the working class and the poor,” he said in the letter.
“I sincerely wish the new team all the best as they guide the nation through these difficult and polarizing times,” he wrote, apparently referring to President-elect Joe Biden’s upcoming coronavirus team.
Atlas appeared on Fox News on Monday to celebrate comments from Democratic New York Governor and Dr. Anthony Fauci about reopening schools in the state, just moments after announcing his departure.
He did not comment on his resignation nor was asked about it by Fox reporter Tucker Carlson, who described it as “in a normal course of events.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A source close to the staff told CNN on Monday that Atlas’ departure is good news, as his discredited theories will not have a seat at the table. A separate official said the workforce remained intact after the departure of Atlas.
Atlas’ months-long tenure in the White House was marked by controversy as he became a close advisor to Trump on the pandemic, adopting public positions on the virus closer to the president – including denouncing the idea that schools cannot reopen this fall. “Hysteria” and the pressure to resume college sports.
Atlas was not in contact with Vice President Mike Pence on Monday with country leaders, according to the list of participants. During the call, Pence and staff members focused on vaccine safety and distribution as Covid-19 cases soared across the country, according to his office.
This story has been updated with additional details.
Jeremy Diamond, Paul LeBlanc and Nicky Carvajal of CNN contributed to this report.