President Donald Trump and those around him love to shout to high heaven about supposed fake news, but amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, they’re the ones who’ve been peddling some in the form of claims that hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, is well-suited to use against Coronavirus. In fact, evidence has been and remains anecdotal, but it’s not clear that either Trump or those around him grasp the need for ordered clinical triala before widespread usage against Coronavirus. This Monday on CNN, Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro suggested that he was well-equipped to provide medicinal advice because he could read studies — is being able to read and supposedly comprehend a study the bar now? Seriously? — and when he then pompously seemed to question whether host John Berman even really wanted people to heal from the Coronavirus at all, the CNN host fiercely refuted him.
The interview came after reports that privately, Navarro had flipped out on Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health over the doctor’s insistence on making clear that “evidence” for the anti-malaria drug was just anecdotal.
NEW: Inside the White House Situation Room yesterday, economic adviser Peter Navarro got into a heated dispute with infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci over the efficacy of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine. Details here: https://t.co/lvpf9HRxy5
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) April 5, 2020
This Monday, Berman commented:
‘We all want the same thing, which is people to get better.’
Towards the end of his remark, Navarro cut in, mockingly commenting:
‘I’m not sure we do sometimes.’
Berman wasn’t about to let that fly. He commented:
‘Don’t you dare for a second suggest that I don’t want people to get better. I got two friends in bed right now.’
One of those might be CNN host Chris Cuomo, who’s had a well-publicized battle with the virus after recently testing positive.
‘That’s not what I said, don’t put those words in my mouth! When you say that when we come on here and we say we all want the same thing, there’s this political overtone, this battle between, you know, you’re trying to create this false dichotomy.’
Berman pointed out that there’s no false dichotomy, because — like he’d said before — those on both sides were trying to get people safe from the virus. Meanwhile, Navarro appeared a bit unkempt as the interview drew to a close, like his appearance could turn into fodder for internet conspiracy theories that Trump allies are repeatedly under the influence when they go on the air.
This interaction is not the first involving hydroxychloroquine that has turned contentious. At a press briefing on Sunday, Trump actually cut in to keep Fauci from answering a question about the efficacy of the drug. Trump claimed he was just trying to save Fauci from repeatedly answering the same question — but the clearly evident net result is that the doctor was muzzled on national television in the name, perhaps, of protecting the president’s public image.
This is a really chilling moment from a science standpoint, with Trump having just pushed an unproven #covid treatment and Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the US, getting muzzled on live TV. Was clear Trump didn’t want to be contradicted. https://t.co/yA4r25nhWP
— Andrew Freedman (@afreedma) April 6, 2020
Trump has questioned what people taking hydroxychloroquine in an effort to stave off Coronavirus’s harmful effects have got to lose — well, a lot! As the president of the American Medical Association put it, patients taking the drug without knowing the effects could lose their life. Anecdotal evidence is not enough to guide national public health policy!
Trump: “What do you have to lose [by taking an unproven drug]?”
President of the American Medical Association: “You could lose your life.” pic.twitter.com/AAFkJyDomr
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) April 6, 2020