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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

Nov 30, 2020 - Health

Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that struggling state hospital systems must transfer patients to sites that are not nearing capacity, as rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations strain medical resources.

Why it matters: New York does not expect to get the same kind of help from thousands of out-of-state doctors and nurses that it got this spring, Cuomo acknowledged, as most of the country battles skyrocketing COVID hospitalizations and infections.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.

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