CNN has reached out to the FDA for comment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday called Trump’s tweet “very scary” and “a very dangerous statement,” saying that “even for him, it went beyond the pale.”
“The FDA has a responsibility to approve drugs, judging on their safety and their efficacy, not by a declaration from the White House about speed and politicizing the FDA,” Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill.
The Biotechnology Innovation Organization said Saturday that the industry is “eager” to deliver a vaccine as quickly as possible, but can “only move as fast as the science allows us.”
“We are confident everyone is moving as fast as possible to ensure any vaccine or new therapy is both safe and effective for patients to use,” Rich Masters, a spokesperson for the biotech lobbying group, said in a statement.
A CNN poll in May found one-third of Americans said they would not try to get vaccinated against Covid-19, even if the vaccine is widely available and low-cost.
Trump, throughout the pandemic, has undercut or dismissed guidance from government health experts, including FDA officials.
“Because you have a lot of people over there that don’t want to rush things because they want to do it after November 3rd,” Trump claimed.
“It is naive to believe that politics aren’t part of the picture–both Dems and Reps,” he continued. “But these essential science and public health bases for FDA are essential for our well-being as a nation and for world since FDA is the only agency that does independent analysis of the raw data.”
The President is no stranger to publicly questioning the medical advice of his administration’s top health officials, or taking aim at them on Twitter.
On Sunday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows defended Trump’s tweet about the FDA.
“This President is about cutting red tape. That’s what the tweet was all about. And I think you’re gonna hear in an announcement later today which really, uh, he had to make sure that they felt the heat. If they don’t see the light, they need to feel the heat. Because the American people are suffering. This President knows it. And he’s going to put it on whether it’s the FDA or NIH or anybody else to make sure we deliver on behalf of the American people,” Meadows told ABC’s “This Week.”
This story has been updated to include comments from former FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
CNN’s Sarah Westwood, Ali Main, Ali Zaslav, Clare Foran and Lauren Mascarenhas contributed to this report.