FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn on Sunday wouldn’t push back on President Trump’s baseless claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless” during a Fourth of July event at the White House South Lawn.
On Saturday, the President said, without evidence, that due to testing almost 40 million people for the coronavirus, “we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless.”
When CNN’s Dana Bash pressed Hahn on Trump’s comment the following morning, Hahn acknowledge the surging coronavirus cases in the country, but said that “it’s too early” and won’t “speculate on what the causation is there.”
After Hahn said that “the way out of this” is for all Americans is to follow the CDC and the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s guidelines, Bash circled back to the question of how Hahn feels about Trump’s baseless claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless” as a member of the task force.
“I totally support the CDC and the information that they’re putting out with respect to this pandemic. I think it’s, again, really important,” Hahn said. “The guidelines that we’ve emphasized, the data that we have — again, it’s a rapidly evolving situation and we’re going to have more data. But we absolutely must take this seriously. We must institute these public health measures. We cannot back off from those. It’s a critically important for Americans to follow those guidelines and to protect the most vulnerable.”
Pressed again on Trump’s false claim, Hahn responded that he’s “not going to get into who is right and who is wrong.”
“What I’m going to say, Dana, is what I’ve said before: it’s a serious problem that we have,” Hahn said. “We’ve seen the surge in cases. We must do something to stem the tide, and we have this in our power to do this by following the guidance from the task force and the CDC.”
When Bash asked Hahn why he won’t say whether Trump’s claim was true or false, Hahn said that the White House Coronavirus Task Force has data showing “this is a serious problem” that “people need to take it seriously.”
Watch Hahn’s remarks below:
FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn won't say Trump is wrong when he claimed that 99% of coronavirus cases are "totally harmless" pic.twitter.com/GKaTnTdEnt
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) July 5, 2020