White House threatens to fire FDA chief if the vaccine isn't approved fast: report

White House threatens to fire FDA chief if the vaccine isn't approved fast: report
President Donald J. Trump listens as Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Dr. Stephen Hahn delivers remarks during a press conference Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The White House has reportedly threatened FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn with the possible loss of his job if he does not approve the Pfizer vaccine by the end of the day.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows spoke with Commissioner Hahn (photo, right) by phone on Friday, Axios reports, saying Meadows "hinted" that Hahn's "job security might be in jeopardy." Hahn has since denied pressure from Meadows.

The Washington Post first reported the exchange, saying "White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Friday told Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to submit his resignation if the agency does not clear the nation's first coronavirus vaccine by day's end."

Trump himself pressured Hahn very publicly Friday morning, tweeting for him to approve the "dam" vaccine "now."

Axios calls it "one more example of the White House putting political pressure on the FDA to expedite its green light on a coronavirus vaccine."

There's essentially no chance that the vaccine will not be approved, after an FDA advisory committee on Thursday recommended approval.

But any suggestion that the FDA is rushing approval or cutting corners could have extremely negative affects on some, especially conservatives, who already are opposed to taking the vaccine.

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