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Pelosi hammers Trump for 'very dangerous' attack on FDA

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 | Lawmakers see better prospects for COVID deal after election Overnight Health Care: House Dem report blasts Trump coronavirus response | Regeneron halts trial of antibody drug in sickest hospitalized patients | McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 MORE (D-Calif.) bashed President TrumpDonald John TrumpStephen Miller: Trump to further crackdown on illegal immigration if he wins US records 97,000 new COVID-19 cases, shattering daily record Biden leads Trump by 8 points nationally: poll MORE on Saturday after he urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expedite the approval of coronavirus treatments, warning that the president was undermining public safety to help his reelection.

"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 said during a rare Saturday press briefing in the Capitol.

"This was a very dangerous statement on the part of the president," she added. "Even for him, it went beyond the pale in terms of how he would jeopardize the health and well-being of the American people."



Hours earlier, Trump raised eyebrows when he attacked the FDA on Twitter, accusing "deep state" officials at the agency of slow-walking drug approvals related to the coronavirus in order to hamper his prospects at the polls in November.

“The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics," Trump tweeted. "Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!"

Trump name-checked Stephen Hahn, the FDA commissioner, at the end of the message.

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The back-and-forth arrives amid a growing controversy over the FDA's role in approving vaccines, tests and other treatments for the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has infected more than 5.6 million people in the United States, 175,000 of them fatally, according to data from The New York Times.

On Wednesday, the Health and Human Services Department announced that the administration will not require FDA approval of COVID-19 tests developed by private labs — a move that reportedly infuriated some FDA officials.

Pelosi on Saturday defended those internal critics, saying it was galling for Trump to accuse the FDA of playing politics "when he is the one who has tried to inject himself in the scientific decisions of the Food and Drug Administration."