Trump Unveiling Virus ‘Breakthrough’ a Day After Hitting FDA

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President Donald Trump’s chief of staff blamed federal bureaucrats for slowing the U.S. response to the virus pandemic, ahead of an announcement Sunday on a “therapeutic breakthrough” promised by the White House.

After Trump claimed on Saturday thatFood and Drug Administration employees are causing delays to sabotage his re-election, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on “Fox News Sunday” that the president’s Twitter comment reflected “frustration” with FDA bureaucrats.

“They want to do things they way they’ve always done it,” Meadows said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “This president is about cutting red tape. That’s what the tweet was all about.”

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said late Saturday that Trump will hold a news conference at 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday on a “major therapeutic breakthrough” against Covid-19. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar will also attend, she said.

While Meadows didn’t provide details on the announcement, he suggested part of the reason is that Trump wants to make federal health agencies “feel the heat” to deliver results.

Separately, on “Fox News Sunday,” Meadows said “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, and having been personally involved with it, sometimes you have to make them feel the heat if they don’t see the light,” he said.

@PressSecUS government account

News conference with President @realDonaldTrump at 6 pm tomorrow concerning a major therapeutic breakthrough on the China Virus. Secretary Azar and Dr. Hahn will be in attendance.5:21 AM · Aug 23, 2020

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“We really need to make sure that we have good science and the proper protocols, but we also can’t wait around and assume that this virus is going to go away,” Meadows said. “This president wants real results and that’s why he took to Twitter.”

Asked whether he believes FDA employees are delaying a vaccine for political purposes ahead of the general election, Meadows said: “I believe there are a number of people that do not see the same sense of urgency that he sees.”

There’s no public evidence that FDA scientists and staff members are delaying treatments or vaccines, and Trump didn’t present any.

But with his political future hinging on his response to the Covid-19 pandemic and his promise to present a vaccine by Election Day on Nov. 3, the FDA is now facing the same sort of political pressure and rhetoric from the White House as those other parts of government.

@realDonaldTrump

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! @SteveFDA1:49 PM · Aug 22, 2020

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Trump uses the term “deep state” to describe employees of government agencies that he believes are manipulating policy to work against his interests. His tweet on Saturday tagged Hahn, who’s a Trump appointee.

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