Whoa, that’s deep.
On Saturday morning, US President Donald Trump suggested on Twitter that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may be part of the “Deep State”:
Yes, you read that correctly. Trump tweeted: “The deep state, or anyone else, at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people to test vaccines and therapies. They obviously hope to delay the response until after November 3rd. You have to focus on speed and save lives! @SteveFDA ”As you can see, Trump tagged FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, MD, in the Tweet.
You usually reserve the word “obviously” for things that are, you know, obvious. For example, you might say “obviously, I shouldn’t put broccoli in my pants” or “obviously, wearing a pie on my head is not a good idea during a job interview” or “obviously, as an FDA commissioner, it is now. get back to bed this morning. “So what is the evidence that the FDA is trying to delay vaccine and therapy testing until after November 3?
And why on November 3? Well, November 3 will be National Sandwich Day. So maybe this needs some preparation. After all, you need to assemble the ham, cheese, bread and other components of the sandwich. So you have to put them together, with the ham and cheese typically going into the bread and not the other way around. November 3 will also be the birthday of Kendall Jenner, Dolph Lundgren and Roseanne Barr.
Hmmm, something else? Oh, November 3 also seems to be US National Election Day, not that Trump is necessarily thinking about the next presidential election. Could Trump somehow suggest that the FDA and the pandemic response are somehow tied to his re-election? To imply that the FDA is trying to influence the election and the sacrifice of lives in doing so would be profound indeed.
After all, isn’t the whole world interested in getting a vaccine as soon as possible, a vaccine that is safe and has been properly tested? Usually, vaccines take at least three to five years to develop. Vaccine development and testing around the world is now happening at unprecedented speed.
But faster isn’t always good. The Pointer Sisters didn’t sing: “When it comes to love, I want a very quick and fast hand.” Do you know the sayings, “haste is waste” and “if you run harder, you could have a mountain of trouble”? If vaccine and drug development and testing goes too quickly, what comes out on the other side may not be safe or effective. It takes time to design, organize, recruit and implement the appropriate studies. Studies that are not designed and implemented properly could put lives at risk.
As a reminder, the FDA is part of the United States federal government. Trump is the president of the United States, allegedly charged with running the federal government. Hahn, the director of the FDA, was named by Trump. This is the planet Earth.
What is this “Deep State” that Trump was referring to? Well, it’s not a Bee Gees song. According to some conspiracy theories, a “deep state,” a hidden network of people, is trying to interfere with Trump’s agenda or do other unpleasant things. For example, as I wrote earlier for Forbes , some conspiracy theories claim that the “Deep State” actually produced the pandemic.
The “Deep State” tweet wasn’t Trump’s only tweet about the FDA for the day. It also drew a Twitter Moment from June 15 reporting the FDA revoking the authorization for the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19. Trump claimed that “Many doctors and practices disagree with this” with an exclamation point:
Trump did not make clear what he meant by the word “many”. Dictionary.com defines “many” as “which constitute or form a large number; numerous.” It’s still a bit vague because it’s unclear what Trump’s definition of the word “great” might be. Big is relative. After all, an ant can consider a large baby carrot.
Trump hasn’t even made it clear what he meant by the words “doctors” and “studies”. All kinds of people call themselves doctors, some legitimately, some not so legitimately. Just because you are a doctor of some kind doesn’t mean you truly understand Covid-19 or its treatments.
There are also all kinds of studios. Was he referring to a study examining something or a room with a desk and books? There are scientific studies and one that is the opposite of scientific. Scientific studies can also vary substantially in quality and usefulness. For example, there was that published study that showed the benefits of electric fans in extreme conditions and humidity, in case you didn’t make that connection.
Actress and activist Mia Farrow tried to offer some clarification when she tweeted – she replied that Trump was referring to a “group led by Stella Immanuel that claims that endometriosis, infertility, miscarriages, and sexually transmitted diseases are caused by” sex with spiritual spouses in dreams “and space aliens manipulate society and government”. If you’re wondering, “how did Mia Farrow find out about my dream last night”, relax. He wasn’t referring to you.
Instead, Farrow was referring to Immanuel, one of the people who were dressed in white coats and called themselves “America’s Frontline Doctors”, as he appeared in a video released by Breitbart news at the end of July. As Jack Brewster described ForbesImmanuel said in the video that the Covid-19 coronavirus “has a cure called hydroxychloroquine, zinc and Zithromax” and “you don’t need masks, there is a cure”. Brewster also described how Trump re-tweeted this video and how Twitter subsequently removed his tweets.
After Breitbart news the video had gone viral, Will Sommer wrote a piece for The Daily Beast titled, “Trump’s New Favorite COVID Doctor Believes in Alien DNA, Demon Sperm, and Hydroxychloroquine.” The title referred to Immanuel and his earlier statements, which included the claim, in Sommer’s words, that “gynecological problems such as cysts and endometriosis are actually caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches “. The article also said that Immanuel “claims that alien DNA is currently being used in medical treatments and that scientists are making a vaccine to prevent people from being religious.”
All of this prompted CNN’s Kaitlin Collins to ask Trump about alien DNA during a July 28 Covid-19 coronavirus briefing:
As you can see, Trump ended the briefing quite abruptly after Collins’ interrogation.
As a reminder, the FDA stands for Food and Drug Administration and not “damn dangerous authorization.” The FDA is around to protect the public from harm and make sure medical products are safe and effective. This feature is very important with so many scammers, flimflammers, scammers and scammers out there trying to make money or push certain ideas for political reasons. The FDA must abide by established scientific processes and not bow to political pressure to inappropriately expedite the testing or approval of a product.
It is probably safe to say that most people around the world would prefer to have a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine or treatment sooner or later. You won’t find many people saying, “social distancing is great, as is suffering from the symptoms of Covid-19”. Good science takes time. Real science isn’t like Tony Stark walking into a lab alone and emerging after a short time with a solution. True scientific innovation requires many different people to work together on different parts of the problem. If you want to speed up the scientific process, provide more funding and support. Ultimately, the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is not a superficial problem, but rather a deep, deep, deep problem. But not in some kind of “deep state”.