President Donald Trump believes, without giving any proof, that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is intentionally slowing down the testing of COVID-19 vaccines to hurt his chances of reelection in November.
In a tweet posted on Friday, Trump said that the FDA is part of the deep state and they are manipulating drug companies into slowing down their enrollment of test subjects, thus delaying an approved vaccine, according to Reuters.
Publicly calling out agencies for being part of a Democratic deep state has been one of Trump’s common tactics. Critics believe he uses it to intimidate those who are seemingly undermining his agenda in order for them to change their minds and accept his demands.
Public health officials and lawmakers are reportedly worried that the Trump administration will pressure the FDA into approving a vaccine that does not work.
In an exclusive statement obtained by Reuters, a top FDA official said he would resign if Trump approved a vaccine without the agency’s approval of safety and effectiveness.
“Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!” Trump wrote, dragging FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn in the tweet.
Although Hahn did not directly respond to the president’s tweet, the commissioner tweeted a link of the FDA’s daily updates on how it is fighting the disease.
In compliance to the FDA and National Institutes of Health (NIH), drug manufacturers are rapidly producing a vaccine to treat COVID-19 as the diease has already claimed 800,000 lives worldwide.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chimed in on the president’s statement, calling it “dangerous” and “beyond the pale” for insinuating that the FDA is playing politics.
Trump’s tweet has also prompted the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Peter Marks, to threaten to quit his job last week. Marks told government officials, pharmaceutical executives, and academics in a conference call that he would leave if the agency released an unproven vaccine.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!