PR Shakeup Follows Plasma Exaggeration

FDA removes Emily Miller as spokeswoman after 11 days
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2020 4:01 PM CDT
PR Shakeup Follows Plasma Exaggeration
President Trump listens as Stephen Hahn, FDA commissioner, speaks Sunday at the White House.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Commissioner Stephen Hahn fired the Food and Drug Administration's spokeswoman on Friday, after a bungled announcement of a blood plasma treatment for COVID-19. Emily Miller had been on the job 11 days, the New York Times reports. The contract of a public relations consultant, who had urged Hahn to correct the record on his exaggerations of the treatment's benefits, also was canceled. Officials said Wayne Pines was not dropped because of his suggestion. Hahn had made the statements in a White House appearance with President Trump last weekend. "If a federal official doesn’t say something right, and chooses to clarify and say that the criticism is justified, that's refreshing," Pines said, referring to what Hahn did.

Miller helped prepare Hahn for the White House announcement, per CNN, but it's not clear if that's why she was fired. She previously worked for the White House personnel office and the conservative cable outfit One America News Network. In her brief tenure, a press release called the treatment "another achievement" in the Trump administration's "fight against the pandemic"—a nearly unprecedented tone for the nonpartisan FDA. She also did not take down a tweet with the misleading claim that Hahn walked back, per the Daily Beast. When Miller was hired, Media Matters reported her history of providing false information about the pandemic. On May 30, as the pandemic deepened, she tweeted, "Remember coronavirus?" (More FDA stories.)

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