Hours after a top federal health official told Senators that a full array of reviews would be made of any Coronavirus vaccine before it was given final approval, President Donald Trump blasted the idea of such government safety checks, arguing it could delay the availability of a vaccine.
“It sounded to me, it sounded extremely political. Why would we do this,” the President told reporters about the vaccine.
“Ultimately, the White House has to approve it," the President said of the proposed FDA review.
Mr. Trump said he had ‘tremendous trust’ in the pharmaceutical companies who were developing the vaccine and testing it - and therefore saw no need for extra checks by the Food and Drug Administration.
“I don’t see any reason why it should be delayed further,” the President said.
Earlier in the day at a Senate hearing, Democrats had pressed Food and Drug Administration chief Stephen Hahn about possible White House interference in the approval process for a vaccine.
“Science will guide our decisions,” Hahn said, making clear the White House would not have input on vaccine approvals. “FDA will not permit any pressure from anyone to change that.”
But it was clear the President did not agree with that assessment.
It was the second time in a week that the President had voiced concerns about testimony by a top health official before Congress - a week ago, Mr. Trump said the CDC Director had been ‘mistaken’ in remarks about the timing of a vaccine, and a call for Americans to wear masks.
The President’s statements basically confirmed what Democrats had charged at a Senate hearing earlier in the day, as they argue Mr. Trump will circumvent any necessary safety checks simply to insure that a vaccine is rushed out by the election.