Throughout the Coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed the lives of at least 10,700 people in the United States and counting, President Donald Trump has relied on his “hunches” and “common sense,” as he’s put it, including on the subject of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which has not been confirmed as an effective treatment for Coronavirus, despite the president’s suggestions otherwise. Back when he was still a free man prior to his currently unfolding prison sentence on corruption charges, Trump’s own former “fixer” Michael Cohen actually struck a huge, million-dollar consulting contract with the company behind much of the world’s supply of the drug, Novartis.
It’s unclear whether Trump knew of behind-the-scenes aspects of that relationship. Cohen’s consulting contract was based on the idea that he could provide Novartis and other companies that he worked with some kind of insight into the president’s thinking.
Delivering a sentiment that was shared across Cohen’s clients for his so-called consulting, Novartis has said that Cohen’s work for them really wasn’t all that substantive.
In a previously released statement, Novartis commented, referring to their agreement with Cohen:
‘As the contract, unfortunately, could only be terminated for cause, payments continued to be made until the contract expired by its own terms in February 2018.’
By the time that contract drew to a close, the company had already dished out $100,000 per month throughout the year or so prior to its termination.
On paper, that money went to Cohen’s shell company Essential Consultants LLC, which is the same entity through which he funneled the infamous hush money for adult film star Stormy Daniels that was meant to cover an affair she had with Trump. Cohen’s work on that hush money was deemed by federal prosecutors to be an illegally secret campaign contribution, and federal campaign finance law violations — in which the president was implicated — were just some of the charges that he got slapped with before his current prison term. The saga proves how deeply embedded with the so-called “swamp” that the president himself really is.
At a recent press conference, he took this swampy trust in his own ego above much else to a disturbing level with his bizarrely whispered question of what people have got to lose from trying the malaria drug in question as a potential treatment for Coronavirus. In fact, those who use the anti-malaria drug for unproven cure attempts could lose their lives.
the conspiratorial but reassuring semi-whisper is a top 3 trump vocal mode https://t.co/pbGSASgkla
— henno (@jrhennessy) April 4, 2020
Even still, as Trump put it separately:
‘What do I know? I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense. The FDA feels good about it; as you know, they approved it.’
They’ve approved it for uses that do not include personal treatment for Coronavirus.
As Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health has explained:
‘The data are really just at best suggestive. There have been cases that show there may be an effect… and there are others to show there’s no effect… So I think in terms of science, I don’t think we could definitively… say it works.’
Amidst a deadly pandemic, the U.S. has been left with Trump, who wants to trust his “common sense” over evidence, as if that’s how medicine works.
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