On Monday, President Donald Trump abruptly revealed that he was apparently taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in a bid to stave off the Coronavirus, although there is basically no conclusive evidence that the drug is actually effective towards that aim. In fact, the drug also has potentially dangerous side effects, from heart problems to hallucinations. After a vague note from White House physician Dr. Sean Conley failed to actually confirm one way or the other that Trump was really taking the drug, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted this week that Trump really was taking it. In the process, she insisted that Trump should customarily be taken at his word, which is laughable.
In light of Trump's new claims, a reminder: Sen. Tammy Baldwin last week called for an HHS Inspector General investigation into the Trump admin's promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. https://t.co/nqTaKWLXDB
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 19, 2020
McEnany told CBS reporter Paula Reid:
‘I can absolutely confirm that… Well, the president said himself he’s taking it. That’s a given fact. He said it. The purpose of this letter was to show Dr. Conley agreed with the analysis that the benefits outweighed the risk. The president should be taken at his word.’
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) May 19, 2020
Again — the idea that the president is some kind of trustworthy source is laughable. He lies like it’s nothing, and then he lies again to cover up the previous lie, and then he lies to cover up his incompetence that’s at hand in light of the fact that he’s lied his way into power. It’s like he doesn’t even care about reality at this point.
Why are we even talking about @realDonaldTrump taking hydroxychloroquine when he's literally sucking the life out of our country with his callous incompetence during this pandemic?
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) May 19, 2020
Conley’s original vague letter had read, in part:
‘In consultation with our inter-agency partners and subject matter experts around the country, I continue to monitor the myriad studies investigating potential COVID-19 therapies, and I anticipate employing the same shared medical decision making based on the evidence at hand in the future.’
Neither in that portion nor anywhere else in the letter does the doctor spell out that Trump either is or isn’t actually taking the drug in question. Considering the volume of Trump’s previously documented lies, it’s not a given that he’s really taking it just because he claimed as much.
The physician to the President says he & the President discussed prescribing him hydroxychloroquine after his military valet tested positive
Dr. Conley says “we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.” pic.twitter.com/e2AY7dO8hV
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) May 19, 2020
He has faced steep criticism for taking the drug even though it has potentially dangerous side effects and is unproven as a treatment against the Coronavirus.
Fox host Neil Cavuto, for instance, 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: 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 facts of the studies that Cavuto references are incontrovertible. That, however, does not mean that the president is actually interested in listening to the Fox host or anyone else who is interested in warning him of the dangers of what he is doing and promoting to vulnerable Americans amidst the crisis.