EXCLUSIVE – A group of Republican senators is questioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over what they call “alarming remarks” made by the agency’s principal deputy commissioner, Dr. Namandjé  Bumpus, expressing concern over the official’s comments “encouraging racial bias in hiring and promotions.”

GOP Sens. Mike Lee, Mike Braun and Eric Schmitt sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf on February 8, flagging a series of comments Bumpus had made that had been brought to their attention by the American Accountability Foundation (AAF), a conservative watchdog group.

Signage outside of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) headquarters in White Oak, Maryland. (REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo / Reuters)

The lawmakers pointed to a “Nature” article Bumpus wrote while at Johns Hopkins University, encouraging “over-represented people in science” to help create an “anti-racist culture with the same vigor [they] apply to achieving every other dimension of scientific excellence,” and said that Bumpus has made several similar statements in speeches.

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In the letter, the senators said that Bumpus has repeatedly suggested that over-representation in science is a problem that needs fixing, and they argue that it is not difficult to see which groups she is referring to. The lawmakers pointed to the high percentages of Asian scientists and White male doctors in their respective fields, compared to the percentages they account for in the general population.

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They also said that Bumpus has openly called for racial hiring quotas.

The senators wrote that “[e]ach job at the FDA should be filled by the most qualified candidate,” and that “the measure of FDA officials should be scientific and professional merit alone, not ideological tests drawn on racial lines.”

Bumpus was promoted to principal deputy commissioner of the FDA on February 1 after serving as the agency’s chief scientist since 2022. Sens. Lee, Braun and Schmitt said in their letter that, based on Bumpus’ comments, they “believe she is ill-suited to such an important public health oversight position.”

Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, during a nomination hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.  (Cheriss May/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

“America’s government and scientific institutions must be completely free of racial bias, toxic woke policies, and discrimination in any form,” Sen. Lee told FOX Business in an exclusive statement. “Statements made by Dr. Bumpus call into question the ability of the FDA to serve our citizens equally and fairly, and Americans deserve answers.” 

When reached for comment, an FDA spokesperson acknowledged receipt of the letter and said the agency would respond to the senators directly. 

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“Dr. Namandjé N. Bumpus is a highly accomplished, nationally-renowned biomedical scientist, representing the best and brightest in public health and science,” the spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. “Dr. Bumpus has a proven track record at the FDA and is critical to fulfilling the mission of the agency.”

The spokesperson added, “The FDA is incredibly fortunate to count her among the civil servants serving the American public in her leadership role.”



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