Aug 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Mark Meadows defends Trump's "deep state" attacks on FDA

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he applauds President Trump's accusation that the "deep state, or whoever" at the FDA is making it harder for drug companies to develop coronavirus treatments and vaccines in order to hurt him politically.

Why it matters: There is no evidence that the agency is purposely working to undermine Trump ahead of the election by slowing progress on life-saving virus treatments.

  • Trump's tweet came on the heels of a policy change by the Department of Health and Human Services to block the FDA's ability to regulate lab-developed tests, which has public health experts worried that unreliable COVID-19 tests could go to market.
  • HHS said it is taking the action as part of a broader Trump administration review of "duplicative actions and unnecessary policies."

Driving the news: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted Saturday that Trump will hold a 6pm news conference on Sunday "concerning a major therapeutic breakthrough" on the coronavirus.

What he's saying: "We're not going to cut corners on any kind of research we can do, but what we will do is 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, is a real frustration with some of the bureaucrats to think that they can just do this the way they normally do it," Meadows said on "Fox News Sunday."

  • "We are facing unprecedented times, which require unprecedented action. This president is right to call it out, and I can tell you that the announcement that's coming today 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. Having been personally involved with it, sometimes you have to make them feel the heat if they don't see the light."
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