President Donald Trump revealed this week at the White House that he has apparently been taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in a bid to stave off infection with the Coronavirus. There is no apparent conclusive evidence that the drug actually has any effect on that desired outcome — he might as well be taking sugar pills, but he’s not, and the actual drug that he’s supposedly taking has potentially dangerous side effects. In response, high-profile Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska noted that Americans should not be taking medical advice from the president.
A basic question: why is the president taking an unproven treatment – hydroxychloroquine – while refusing to take a step proven to reduce risk of infection – wearing a mask?
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) May 19, 2020
As reported by CNN’s senior Congressional correspondent Manu Raju, Murkowski stated:
‘What I’m saying: Follow the guidance of our medical professionals. I’m not a medical professional. The president is not. We should be listening to them.’
Lisa Murkowski on Trump touting hydroxychloroquine despite FDA warning. “What I'm saying: Follow the guidance of our medical professionals. I'm not a medical professional. The president is not. We should be listening to them."
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 18, 2020
Others in the realms of conservatism offered more dire warnings. For instance, Fox host Neil Cavuto commented:
‘That was stunning. The president of the United States just acknowledged that he is taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug that really is to treat malaria and lupus. The president has insisted it has enormous benefits for patients who are either trying to prevent or already have COVID-19. The fact of the matter is, though, when the president said what have you got to lose, in a number of studies, those certainly vulnerable in the population have one thing to lose: their lives.’
Cavuto went on to cite a number of studies that support his point that the drug which the president is now taking is dangerous.
Cavuto: Trump 'just acknowledged he's taking hydroxychloroquine … The fact of the matter is though, when Trump said what do you got to lose, in a number of studies the vulnerable population have one thing to lose, their lives … I cannot stress enough, This. Will. Kill. You' pic.twitter.com/V5Z2kCcDer
— Lis Power (@LisPower1) May 18, 2020
The existence of these studies and the dangers that they document are basic facts, but the president did not exactly sound thrilled that someone was pointing out these basic facts.
He melted down on Twitter:
‘@FoxNews is no longer the same. We miss the great Roger Ailes. You have more anti-Trump people, by far, than ever before. Looking for a new outlet!’
Just to be clear: former Fox News chief Roger Ailes was ousted after revelations of his lengthy history of sexually harassing women in the workplace. This scandal was not a secret, but Trump thinks he’s “great.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2020
Meanwhile, the administration is continuing to bungle their response to the pandemic. Top Trump adviser Peter Navarro, who has no public health experience but has somehow ended up helping to lead the White House’s Coronavirus response, wheeled out a particularly ridiculous conspiracy theory during a recent interview in which he suggested that Chinese authorities intentionally spread the Coronavirus around the world. It mirrors racist nonsense from the president himself, of course, who has suggested that Latin American countries “send” migrants to the United States. They do not.
‘The Chinese—behind the shield of the World Health Organization—for two months hid the virus from the world and then sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese on aircraft to Milan, New York and around the world to seed that. They could have kept it in Wuhan, but instead, it became a pandemic.’
These is no evidence for his claims. While Americans continue to die in large numbers, this nonsense and an obsession with an unrelated drug are what the president’s team is occupying themselves with.