He must be jealous that New Jersey still leads his state in COVID deaths per capita and is doing what he can to try to make up the gap.
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 19, 2020
Here’s the political backdrop against which this idiot is discouraging people from trusting the FDA:
The good news is that there’s reason to think confidence in the vaccine will increase within both parties in the months ahead. It won’t be approved before the election but it might be authorized in the weeks following and in all likelihood by the end of the year. All of that will happen on Trump’s watch irrespective of the outcome on November 3, which should boost trust among Republicans. And of course, if Biden wins, he’ll become the vaccine salesman-in-chief come January 21st, giving Democrats reason to abandon their own partisan skepticism.
But the more suspicious Americans are now, the lower the baseline will be next year of people willing to get the vaccine and thus the more time and effort it’ll take to bring holdouts along. Why isn’t Darth Cuomo thinking about that?
The dilemma for any politician on whether to trust the FDA is balancing the need to encourage public acceptance of the vaccine with the plain fact that Trump *has* politicized the FDA approval process, and not for the first time. He leaned on the agency successfully to authorize hydroxychloroquine and later convalescent plasma for emergency use despite the fact that there were no randomized clinical trials affirming the efficacy of either. That gave the FDA a black eye among doctors and scientists — but, to his credit, FDA chief Stephen Hahn seems to be doing the right thing lately to try to rebuild public trust that the vaccine approval process will be different. The agency’s new rules slowing down the phase three trials are aimed at showing Americans that authorization will happen on a timetable warranted by scientific method, not the president’s electoral interests.
Trump being Trump, he naturally didn’t like that and took a moment recently to undermine confidence in the FDA himself:
New FDA Rules make it more difficult for them to speed up vaccines for approval before Election Day. Just another political hit job! @SteveFDA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2020
Cuomo should have pointed to that FDA rule change in his interview this morning as a reason why Americans *should* be confident in the vaccine when it arrives. It’s fine for him to have his own independent medical panel analyze the data from the phase three trials — doctors all over the country will be doing the same thing and opining on TV and in print media, lending consensus support for the vaccine (hopefully) — but Hahn and his agency are doing their best lately to show good faith. Yet here’s Cuomo pissing away an opportunity to highlight that, knowing that it means inevitably that New Yorkers and other Democrats will be more hesitant to get the vaccine once it arrives.
Inexcusable, especially since there’s still a chance that Trump will be president next year. If Democrats are all-in on “you can’t trust Trump’s FDA” as a message, a lot of work will need to be done to bring their base back into the pro-vaccine fold in 2021. At least when Kamala Harris expressed some skepticism of Trump’s FDA, she added that she’d take the vaccine if Fauci recommended it.
Speaking of which, I’ll leave you with this bit from last night’s “60 Minutes.”
“The director, the commissioner of the FDA has been very public that he will not let politics interfere” with COVID-19 vaccine approval, says Dr. Fauci. “If the final outcome is that the FDA approves it, I will take it." https://t.co/iL9iPzKJpW pic.twitter.com/Z32qenAlbj
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 18, 2020