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."

Go deeper

Updated 48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Ex-FDA chief: Pence campaigning after COVID exposure puts others at risk — Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — U.S. reports over 80,000 new cases for second consecutive day.
  3. World: Australian city Melbourne to exit one of world's longest lockdowns — In photos: Coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe
  4. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine after possible COVID-19 exposure
  5. Nonprofit: Rockefeller Foundation commits $1 billion for COVID-19 recovery
Oct 24, 2020 - World

Poland's president tests positive for coronavirus

Duda. Photo: Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Polish President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesperson announced on Saturday.

The big picture: Duda is reportedly feeling well and in isolation. His positive test comes amid a massive uptick in COVID-19 throughout the country and elsewhere across Europe.

  • Poland had previously warded off the virus with relative success, but is now facing a massive influx of cases that threatens to overwhelm its medical system.
  • The nation on Saturday tracked "13,628 new cases and 179 new deaths — a record number of deaths in one day since the start of pandemic," AP reports.

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

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