FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn told CNN anchor Jake Tapper on Sunday’s “State of the Union” that “no external pressure” guided the agency’s emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Hahn’s comments again rebutted a Friday report from The Washington Post that claimed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had told Hahn to approve the vaccine by the end of Friday or resign, a report the FDA chief had called an “untrue representation” of the conversation.
“Mr. Hahn, just to be clear, did White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in any way, suggest that if the FDA did not grant emergency use authorization to this vaccine more quickly, than in any way, it would be more difficult for you to continue in your job?” Tapper asked.
“Jake, I’ve been really clear about this in my public statements,” Hahn responded. “That is an inaccurate representation of the conversation.”
Asked for more insight, Hahn refused to “give specifics,” but stressed that things were “done properly” despite the “desire for us to move as quickly as possible.”
Tapper referenced a tweet from Trump calling the agency a “big, old, slow turtle” to ask Hahn whether he shares concerns that such comments can “hurt your effort to reassure people that this was done according to the science and not political pressure.” (RELATED: Dr. Anthony Fauci Predicts When The Face Masks Might Come Off)
While my pushing the money drenched but heavily bureaucratic @US_FDA saved five years in the approval of NUMEROUS great new vaccines, it is still a big, old, slow turtle. Get the dam vaccines out NOW, Dr. Hahn @SteveFDA. Stop playing games and start saving lives!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2020
“Jake, we have been very clear, and I’ll say it again here, that nothing guided our decision, no external comments, no external pressure other than the science and data guided our decision making,” Hahn responded.