Trump accuses FDA of 'a political hit' for not rushing a vaccine before the election


The Food and Drug Administration commissioner is a Trump appointee.

Donald Trump claimed without evidence Thursday that his own administration was trying to sabotage his reelection bid by delaying a coronavirus vaccine.

"We will have a vaccine so soon you won't even believe it, although they're trying to do a little bit of a political hit," Trump told supporters at a rally in Jacksonville, Florida. "You notice that? 'Let's delay the vaccine, just a little bit.'"

Trump appeared to be referring to reports earlier in the week that the Food and Drug Administration is considering safety rules for a potential vaccine that would likely delay approval until late November at the earliest. Trump has repeatedly suggested he will have a vaccine ready before Election Day.

On Wednesday, Trump threatened to overrule any FDA safety rules that might slow down his timeline, saying they sound "like a political move."

But it is unclear why Trump thinks his own agency is trying to undermine him politically. The FDA is headed by Stephen Hahn, an oncologist and longtime donor to the Republican National Committee. Trump appointed Hahn in late 2019, with the unanimous support of the GOP Senate majority.

Polls show that Trump's botched handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge albatross for his reelection bid. On average, just about 40% of Americans approve of his handling of the crisis versus almost 57% disapproval, according to FiveThirtyEight.

For months, Trump has tried to convince the American public that vaccines and therapeutic cures are imminent.

"We had a great meeting today with a lot of the great companies and they're going to have vaccines, I think, relatively soon," he promised nearly seven months ago. "And they're going to have something that makes you better — and that's going to actually take place, we think, even sooner."

His rosy predictions have been widely contradicted by medical experts — even his own appointees. Most do not expect a vaccine to be widely available until well into 2021.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.