White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Sunday defended President Trump’s tweet the day before that baselessly accuses the “deep state” at the Federal Drug Administration of forcing drug companies to delay clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to hurt his re-election campaign.
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! @SteveFDA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2020
Trump’s tweet on Saturday morning, which tagged FDA commissioner Steve Hahn, came after a policy change at HHS that blocks the FDA’s authority to regulate lab-developed tests. HHS stated that it implemented the policy change as part of a broader review by the administration of “duplicative actions and unnecessary policies.”
When pressed on Trump’s tweet during an interview on Fox News Sunday, pointing our how Hahn will join the President later in the day to announce “a major breakthrough on therapeutics,” Meadows responded that the administration won’t “cut corners in any kind of research we can do” but that it will “cut the red tape.”
“And what the President was specifically addressing is something that I’ve been involved with over the last three or four weeks: a real frustration with some of the bureaucrats who think that they can just do this the way they normally do it,” Meadows said. “We are facing unprecedented times, which require unprecedented action.”
Meadows argued that Trump is “right to call it out” and that the announcement the President will make later Sunday “should have been made several weeks ago.”
“It was a fumble by a number of people in the federal government that should have done it differently and having been personally involved with it, sometimes you have to make them feel the heat if they don’t see the light,” Meadows said.
Meadows then continued defending Trump’s tweet.
“I applaud the President for putting out the tweet and I can tell you it’s not just on the announcement that’s coming today,” Meadows said. “There are other actions that need to be taken to make sure that we get the protections for the American people quickly, safely and securely. And we will do that, but it’s only with the unrelenting pressure of the President to make sure that gets done.”
Watch Meadows’ remarks below:
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows "applauds" Trump for tweet baselessly accusing "deep state" at FDA for delaying COVID-19 vaccine trials pic.twitter.com/1ddrHAkws4
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) August 23, 2020