This week at a Senate hearing Scott Gottlieb defended his nomination to be FDA commisioner. Last night at happy hour we caught up with a Republican staffer who was willing to be candid in exchange for remaining unnamed.
Staffer: Oh, yeah, the Gottlieb nomination. Sweet little thing. The nomination, I mean. Seems like the hearing was weeks ago with this whole “nuclear” warfare going on in the Senate over Gorsuch.
Mendelspod: The Republicans looked pretty pleased with Gottlieb, as did some of the Democrats.
Staffer: It was a HUGE relief for Republicans! I mean we were trying to be prepared for anything, for the name of a coal miner!
Mendelspod: Haha. Yeah, it looks like. . .
Staffer: When Gottlieb’s name came in, we wondered if something went wrong at the White House, you know. Did Trump have some bad caviar, or something? It’s like the first time a nominee’s career actually matched his post.
Staffer: Gottlieb hasn’t even been talking to any Russians. This was a cinch for us. Actually it’s the staffers on the other side who had to do some digging this time. Which was super great to see.
Mendelspod: Industry leaders seemed pretty relieved too. We caught a tweet from the CEO at Innovative Drug Company that went something like,
“Glad to see Gottlieb’s got this in the bag. Even though he just had to say that he had heard of drugs before.”
Was that a fair tweet?
Staffer: Well, Gottlieb did admit there's no science connecting vaccines and autism. And I’m sure . . .
Mendelspod: But isn’t that a pretty low bar? I mean, it’s like someone getting named CEO of Google because they’ve . . . searched on Google.
Staffer: At least. . .
Mendelspod: It’s not a coal miner running the FDA, yahoo!!
Staffer: Right. At least Republicans got to show off that they know something about science.
Mendelspod: Yes. Trump seems to bring out the nerd in Republican Senators.
Staffer: You mean like Senator Enzi showing off his knowledge that an "adaptive trial" wasn’t just the name of an episode of The Good Wife?
Mendelspod: Haha. Yes.
Staffer: Or the name of North Carolina's new bathroom bill?
Mendelspod: Chairman Alexander sounded pretty pissed off at Trump for wanting to cut resources and funding at the FDA and the NIH.
Staffer: Well yeah, the Chairman worked on the 21st Century Cures bill since . . . since . . .
Mendelspod: Since Jesus invented opioids.
Mendelspod: Did you catch that article in the Washington Pissed that called Gottlieb another con artist like Trump, just with better hair?
Staffer: I know that journalist personally. We all do. He’s been a raging alcoholic since a month after the election. He's used that line with most of the nominees. He’s assigned to cover these hearings, but he doesn’t even bother showing up anymore. It's really sad.
Mendelspod: There may be something to it. Trump’s nominees tend to be good looking. To Gottlieb’s credit, he did seem prepared for all the questions but one, even if he didn’t get to answer any of them.
Staffer: Oh, which one?
Mendelspod: That if he solves the opioid crisis in America, who will be left to vote for Trump in 2020?
Staffer: Right. I think I’ll bow out on that one.