Is Donald Trump Pro-COVID-19? His bungling of the crisis raises questions about which side he is on.

AuthorShure, Natalie
PositionClinical report

The frightening new pathogen, he told host Tucker Carlson, could be cured by hydroxychloroquine, a century-old drug used to treat autoimmune diseases.

The claim was baseless: The French study that had first highlighted the drugs promise was neither randomized nor controlled. Rigano was soon exposed as a Silicon Valley cryptocurrency investor whod faked his association with Stanford's medical school and self-published his study on Google Docs.

But, within days, what should have been a quickly forgotten sideshow was instead legitimated by the most powerful person on Earth, who reportedly never misses an episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight.

Hydroxychloroquine, President Donald Trump announced at the coronavirus press briefing held the day after the interview, was a "game changer."

The day after that, Trump called himself a "big fan" of the drug, despite protests from the National Institutes of Health's Dr. Anthony Fauci, who emphasized the lack of evidence that the drug was effective for COVID-19 patients.

Fauci's corrective hardly mattered: Once the President had glommed onto the idea, rightwing news media too began hyping the cure, promoting the pills more than 100 times in three days. Trumps booster-ism caused demand for the drug to skyrocket, preventing lupus patients from accessing their suddenly popular meds.

Nearly two dozen states began stockpiling millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine. One man in Arizona reportedly died after ingesting a toxic form of chloro-quine after hearing Trump's praise; subsequent studies began finding it to be ineffective or even harmful in patients as well.

Nonetheless, Trump doubled down. In April, he hosted recovered patients at the White House and highlighted their "tremendous endorsements" of hydroxychloroquine, suggesting that the ever-growing scientific consensus against taking the drug for COVID-19 was nothing but partisan knee-capping.

A month later, Trump announced at a press conference that he himself was taking the drug prophy-lactically and insisted it was safe, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration yanked its hastily issued emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine, and the National Institutes of Health ended its clinical trial, both concluding that the drug was risky and ineffective.

Trumps response was to retweet a pro-hydroxy-chloroquine and anti-mask video later banned from video-hosting platforms as misinformation. He has continued to champion the thoroughly discredited "cure" at public events.

The hydroxychloroquine...

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