There’s always been something strange about Trump’s continued insistence that Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. You would think he’d mention it once or twice, then move on to something else, especially after the medical experts keep questioning the studies. Now it looks like we have an explanation for this fixation: the drug-pusher-in-chief has been buying up the supply.
President Donald Trump on Sunday once again mentioned the experimental drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus patients during the White House COVID-19 briefing on Sunday, and announced that the federal government has stockpiled 29 million pills. [emphasis added]
Now this drug (I’m tired of spelling it out each time) is used to treat certain types of malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and a few other diseases, under doctor’s supervision because there are some side effects to the skin, eyes, and heart that can be serious, even fatal.
On top of which, the studies so far are anecdotal only, and given the high rate (80% or more) of COVID-19 patients that recover on their own without serious illness, it is also not clear whether this drug helped them at all. But Trump is pushing it; not only that, he muzzled Dr.Fauci today when a reporter tried to ask him about it:
During Fauci's remarks at the press briefing on Sunday, a reporter asked the doctor about his thoughts on using hydroxychloroquine on coronavirus patients. Before Fauci could respond, Trump interjected, saying: “I've answered that question 15 times.”
One reason Trump didn’t want Dr. Fauci to say anything is because the doctor got into a shouting match with Peter Navarro, an economics adviser with no medical training (and I don’t recall that he’s a good economist, either) in the Situation Room yesterday (well, Navarro was shouting):
The White House coronavirus task force had its biggest fight yet on Saturday, pitting economic adviser Peter Navarro against infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci. At issue: How enthusiastically should the White House tout the prospects of an antimalarial drug to fight COVID-19?
Navarro passed around copies of a paper showing some reports worldwide on tests with this drug. Dr. Fauci pointed out that these were anecdotal only, not controlled studies, which then:
Fauci's mention of anecdotal evidence “just set Peter off,” said one of the sources. Navarro pointed to the pile of folders on the desk, which included printouts of studies on hydroxychloroquine from around the world. . . .
Navarro started raising his voice, and at one point accused Fauci of objecting to Trump's travel restrictions, saying, “You were the one who early on objected to the travel restrictions with China,” saying that travel restrictions don't work. (Navarro was one of the earliest to push the China travel ban.)
(Dr. Fauci has praised Trump’s travel ban on China.)
And why was Navarro so upset?
As part of his role, Navarro has been trying to source hydroxychloroquine from around the world. He's also been trying to ensure that there are enough domestic production capabilities inside the U.S.
Now things are starting to make more sense. Trump is pushing this drug because he’s been buying it. That means some or all of the following:
- He’s staked his ego as well as the taxpayers’ money on this drug, and doesn’t want to look foolish by buying up something that doesn’t work.
- He hopes to control the supply of the first drug known to work in order to squeeze state governors on this like he’s squeezing them on ventilators and PPEs.
- Somehow, somewhere, Jared Kushner sees a way to make money off the federal (“our”) stockpile of this drug.
There is, as we all know, no bottom to the Great Orange Shitgibbet’s depravity. But why does hehave to keep proving it?