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Biden’s COVID Co-Chair: The Right Hates Him Already, and That’s Good.

Contributor: Eleanor Clift

Photo Credit: Mike Baumeister - Unsplash

As FDA chief in the 1990s, David Kessler made dramatic changes for the better—nutrition labels, tobacco regulation. Yep, the right already hates him.


Moving quickly to show leadership as COVID continues its relentless march, President-elect Joe Biden turned to former FDA Commissioner David Kessler to co-chair a 13-member pandemic task force. Kessler earned his reputation as David going after Goliath when he took on Big Tobacco in the 1990s and turned the FDA into such an aggressive watchdog on public health that critics derided him as a “nanny state food Nazi” for championing standardized nutrition labels on food.


He now emerges as a lead health official at a time of widespread public skepticism about the pandemic and strong resistance to government efforts to impose social distancing and mask wearing. Getting the virus under control is Biden’s top priority, but in places with the highest number of new cases per capita, the overwhelming majority of people voted for President Trump, presumably buying into his rhetoric about having “turned the corner” on the virus.


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