FDA Chief: I Haven’t Felt Political Pressure to ‘Make One Decision Versus Another’ on Coronavirus


FDA chief Dr. Stephen Hahn denied feeling any political pressure from the Trump administration on the coronavirus response.

On Meet the Press, Chuck Todd brought up reporting by the New York Times on emails from experts inside and outside the U.S. government expressing worry that the U.S. wasn’t preparing enough for the pandemic.

One of the emails read, “We are making every misstep leaders initially made in table-tops at the outset of pandemic planning in 2006. We had systematically addressed all of these and had a plan that would work — and has worked in Hong Kong/Singapore. We have thrown 15 years of instutitional learning out the window and are making decisions based on intuition.”

Todd asked Hahn, “Do you feel like you had enough institutional knowledge to deal with this pandemic?”

“I’m not aware of that email,” Hahn said. “What I can tell you is I do feel that we have been surrounded by experts, particularly at FDA. We have a lot of scientific and clinical experts who know a lot about testing. So I do feel that there has been the appropriate expertise to get the tests at least initially where we need to be, and obviously, we have responded to the changing situation and changed our regulatory approach based upon that.”

Todd went on to ask if he’s felt “political pressure”: “There’s a lot of implications that some in the White House, the president himself, didn’t like the sounding of alarms that was taking place about this virus over the last six weeks. Have you felt that pressure?”

“Chuck, I have not felt political pressure,” Hahn responded. “I have not exerted political pressure on FDA. Where I do feel pressure is on the urgency of the situation… There is an urgency around this, but I have not received political pressure to have FDA make one decision versus another.”

You can watch above, via NBC.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac