Scott Gottlieb, former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, has been a consistent voice from outside the Trump administration advising on the coronavirus outbreak, according to an article on MSN.
Gottlieb has been informally advising the coronavirus task force, and he recently supplied Trump with a “roadmap,” created by him and other experts, outlining when and how the U.S. can begin returning to more normal daily activity.
He warned the administration in January that the coronavirus would spread to the U.S. and later warned that it would become a pandemic before the World Health Organization declared it so. Despite his early warnings going unheeded, Gottlieb has not criticized the administration but has “offered sharp words for officials and states when he disagreed with their policies,” according to MSN.
“He’s not going to shade his views and say something that people want to hear or that might make a headline,” said Mark McClellan, a former FDA commissioner who hired Gottlieb under the George W. Bush administration. “He’s just trying to be straight up about the critical things that need to be done to respond to the pandemic. It’s not about making a name for himself or saying something that is controversial or critical just for the sake of it. It’s really with this kind of constructive goal in mind. I’ve seen that the entire time we’ve worked together.”
Vice President Mike Pence, the coronavirus task force lead, said he had “great respect” for Gottlieb, and Trump noted that he “did a great job at [the] FDA.” Pence confirmed that Gottlieb has been advising the task force.
Others seem to take Gottlieb’s advice to heart as well—after he released the “roadmap” to the task force, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed their decision on nonmedical face masks, saying the public should wear some sort of face covering when out. After Gottlieb said that the U.S. recovery would depend on states like Texas and Florida, where officials had been pushing back against lockdowns and social distancing, being more aggressive, the Florida governor issued a stay-at-home order.