Trump calls new FDA plan “extremely political,” says “ultimately the White House has to approve it. And maybe we will and maybe we won’t”

Trump says: Don’t let government scientists slow down a rush to a vaccine “I have tremendous trust in these massive companies”

JUST YESTERDAY: “Watchdog Group to Trump: Don’t Block or Weaken Upcoming FDA Vaccine Standards”

Washington, DC – Today, Accountable Pharma released the following statement in response to President Trump’s attack on new guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) intended to “boost transparency and public trust” in the Administration’s vaccine development process. The guidance is currently with the White House Office of Management and Budget and Trump said Wednesday that he “may or may not approve it.”

“This is exactly what we were worried about and should be deeply concerning to anyone who wants a safe and effective vaccine to be approved as quickly as possible and trusted by the American people,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Accountable Pharma.

“There is no longer any doubt about it: President Trump is telling us straight out that he is willing to overturn guidance from his own scientists if it doesn’t align with his desire to announce a vaccine before the election.”

The news of upcoming FDA guidance came out yesterday as President Trump continued to promise that a vaccine would be coming “very, very shortly” and as polls show that fewer than 1 in 10 Americans have a great deal of confidence in Trump to confirm vaccine effectiveness.” The Washington Post reported that “public health experts are increasingly worried that President Trump’s repeated predictions of a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 3, coupled with the administration’s interference in federal science agencies, may prompt Americans to reject any vaccine as rushed and potentially tainted.”

Transcript of Trump’s comments last night

Press: Mr. President, the FDA is reportedly considering stricter guidelines for the emergency authorization of a COVID vaccine. Are you okay with that?

President Donald Trump: Well, I tell you what, we’re looking at that. That has to be approved by the White House. We may or may not approve it. That sounds like a political move. Because when you have Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Moderna, these great companies coming up with the vaccines and they’ve done testing and everything else. I’m saying, why would they have to be adding great length to the process. We want to have people not get sick. The vaccine is very important. It’s the final step. I believe it’s going to be the final step. And no, we’re looking at that. But I think that was a political move more than anything else.

Press: I’m not sure. It’s designed to improve trust in the vaccine. Do you think that’s not needed?

President Donald Trump: Well, I have tremendous trust in these massive companies that are so brilliantly organized, in terms of what they’ve been doing with the tests. I mean, I don’t know that a government, as big as we are, could do tests like this. We’ve made it possible for them to do the tests in rapid fashion. But when they come back and they say that we have something that works and absolutely works. And they’re coming back with great numbers and statistics and tests and everything else that they have to come back with, I don’t see any reason why should be delayed further. Because if they delay it a week or two weeks or three weeks, that’s a lot of lives you’re talking about. Scott, would you agree with that? How do you feel about that?

Scott Atlas:  Yeah. Thanks. I mean, I think that people don’t understand what’s going on with Operation Warp Speed. It’s unprecedented, what’s happened here. A typical vaccine takes roughly four years or so. And now we’re going to have a vaccine, highly likely in far less than one year. But without cutting any safety corners, because the president has done things concomitant to the development of the vaccine. That is the manufacturing and the logistics, everything is being done at the same time. And that’s never been done before. But there is zero cutting of safety concerns. There should be no hesitation about the safety. You shouldn’t be punished by doing something faster than other people could have done or thought. It’s the opposite. We have a pandemic, the urgency is the pandemic, not politics.

President Donald Trump: It sounded to me, extremely political. Why would they do this, when we come back with these great results. And I think you will have those great results.

Press:  When do you expect the vaccine then?

President Donald Trump: Why would we be delaying it? But we’re going to look at it. We’re going to take a look at it. And ultimately the White House has to approve it. And maybe we will and maybe we won’t, but we’ll be taking a look. I have to leave for an emergency phone call. I’m going to let Scott and Larry finish up. I’ll be back. I will see you tomorrow.

A timeline of political pressure on health officials

  • September 21: President Trump once again claimed that a vaccine will be approved “within a matter of weeks” and that it will be available to the public “long before the end of the year, maybe…maybe by the end of October,” contradicting  his top public health officials.
  • September 16: President Trump publicly scolded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield following his testimony to Congress that mask use was critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and that a vaccine would likely not be available to the American public until “late second quarter, third quarter 2021.”
  • August 30: WaPo: “Inside Trump’s pressure campaign on federal scientists over a covid-19 treatment”
  • August 25: NPR: “FDA’s Hahn Apologizes For Overselling Plasma’s Benefits As A COVID-19 Treatment”
  • August 24: “Trump’s FDA Intimidation Campaign Pays Off With Politically-Convenient Announcement; Further Undermines Trust in Vaccine, Treatment Approval Process”
  • August 22: Trump dials up the pressure with another tweet “The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”
  • August 19: Trump insinuates that FDA is trying to hurt him politically through delay: “It could be a political decision because you have a lot of people over there who don’t want to rush things because they want to do it after November 3”
  • August 18: “Trump Dials Up Pressure for Pre-Election Vaccine, Wonders if “Deep State” Will Delay Vaccine Announcement Until November 4th”
  • August 17: “Trump Pushes Another COVID-19 “Miracle Cure” Hawked By His MyPillow Buddy, Housing Secretary; Watchdog Urges FDA to Stand Up to Pressure”
  • August 6: “Watchdog Group to FDA: Patients Need More Than Words On Vaccine Safety Assurance; Supports Health Expert Calls for Additional Transparency”
  • July 15: “NEW REPORT – Operation Warp Speed at Two Months: $4 Billion for Drug Companies, Zero Assurances for Patients and Taxpayers”
  • June 25: “New Vaccine Report Highlights Trump Administration’s Drug Company Connections, Need for Vaccine Program Transparency”
  • June 24: “As Dr. Fauci Expresses Hope for Vaccine By End of Year, Patients Need Assurances That Trump Pressure Won’t Corrupt Development Process”
  • June 8: “Watchdog Calls for Independent Patient Advocate to Audit ‘Operation Warp Speed’”
  • May 26: “Lack of Transparency, Conflicts of Interest Surround Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” Vaccine Development Program”

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