Trump openly politicizes new guidelines, complains they would “make it more difficult for them to speed up vaccines for approval before Election Day”

Tweet tirade comes hours after White House backed down and allowed FDA to post vaccine safety and efficacy guidance

HOURS EARLIER: “White House Backs Down, FDA Posts Vaccine Safety Guidance Opposed By Trump”

Washington, DC – Today, Accountable Pharma released the following statement in response to President Trump’s late-night tweet calling the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) updated vaccine safety and efficacy guidance, which the White House had just hours earlier cleared for posting, a “political hit job” that would “make it more difficult for them to speed up vaccines for approval before Election Day.” President Trump tagged FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn in his tweet to make it clear he was directing this political pressure at him.

“We are witnessing the open politicization of the government’s vaccine approval process by a president unhinged and unmoored from the facts and his own Administration’s stated policies,” said Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Accountable Pharma.

“We all assumed this was coming the moment this White House approved this science-based guidance, but this level of brazen politicizing by President Trump is deeply damaging and will further erode the public trust that this guidance was taking steps to restore. Dr. Hahn has caved to Trump’s pressure before, but this time he must stand strong alongside his staff in the face of this latest Trump tantrum and make sure that this guidance stays in place so that we can get a safe, effective, and trusted vaccine approved as quickly as possible.”

Timeline of vaccine guidance whiplash  

↑ September 22: “FDA poised to announce tougher standards for a covid-19 vaccine that make it unlikely one will be cleared by Election Day” [NYT]

↓ October 5: “White House Blocks New Coronavirus Vaccine Guidelines” [NYT]

↑  October 6: “White House Agrees to FDA’s Guidelines for Vetting Covid-19 Vaccines” [WSJ]

↓ October 6: Trump tweets: “New FDA Rules make it more difficult for them to speed up vaccines for approval before Election Day. Just another political hit job! @SteveFDA” [Twitter] 

A timeline of political pressure on health officials

  • October 6:  “White House Agrees to FDA’s Guidelines for Vetting Covid-19 Vaccines”…Trump calls it “political hit job.”
  • October 5: Reports emerge that the White House, in consultation with the drug industry, has overruled the FDA and plans to block the new guidance.
  • September 28: White House objections may prevent FDA from releasing stricter guidelines drawn up for the emergency authorization of coronavirus vaccines.
  • September 21: President Trump once again claimed that a vaccine will be approved “within a matter of weeks” and that it will be available to the public “long before the end of the year, maybe…maybe by the end of October,” contradicting  his top public health officials.
  • September 16: President Trump publicly scolded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield following his testimony to Congress that mask use was critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and that a vaccine would likely not be available to the American public until “late second quarter, third quarter 2021.”
  • August 30: WaPo: “Inside Trump’s pressure campaign on federal scientists over a covid-19 treatment”
  • August 25: NPR: “FDA’s Hahn Apologizes For Overselling Plasma’s Benefits As A COVID-19 Treatment”
  • August 24: “Trump’s FDA Intimidation Campaign Pays Off With Politically-Convenient Announcement; Further Undermines Trust in Vaccine, Treatment Approval Process”
  • August 22: Trump dials up the pressure with another tweet “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!”
  • August 19: Trump insinuates that FDA is trying to hurt him politically through delay: “It could be a political decision because you have a lot of people over there who don’t want to rush things because they want to do it after November 3”
  • August 18: “Trump Dials Up Pressure for Pre-Election Vaccine, Wonders if “Deep State” Will Delay Vaccine Announcement Until November 4th”
  • August 17: “Trump Pushes Another COVID-19 “Miracle Cure” Hawked By His MyPillow Buddy, Housing Secretary; Watchdog Urges FDA to Stand Up to Pressure”
  • August 6: “Watchdog Group to FDA: Patients Need More Than Words On Vaccine Safety Assurance; Supports Health Expert Calls for Additional Transparency”
  • July 15: “NEW REPORT – Operation Warp Speed at Two Months: $4 Billion for Drug Companies, Zero Assurances for Patients and Taxpayers”
  • June 25: “New Vaccine Report Highlights Trump Administration’s Drug Company Connections, Need for Vaccine Program Transparency”
  • June 24: “As Dr. Fauci Expresses Hope for Vaccine By End of Year, Patients Need Assurances That Trump Pressure Won’t Corrupt Development Process”
  • June 8: “Watchdog Calls for Independent Patient Advocate to Audit ‘Operation Warp Speed’”
  • May 26: “Lack of Transparency, Conflicts of Interest Surround Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” Vaccine Development Program”


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