President Donald Trump kept pushing hydroxychloroquine as a miracle coronavirus cure on Tuesday, calling the drug “safe” and “successful” even though his own federal regulators have said it should not be used to treat COVID-19 because of serious safety concerns.
Trump doubled down on the dubious coronavirus regimen after being asked at a White House briefing why he had retweeted a stream of posts overnight hailing the drug’s supposed efficacy.
“Many doctors think it is extremely successful,” Trump said. “I happen to believe in it. I would take it, as you know, I took it for a 14-day period, and I’m here. … It’s safe, it doesn’t cause problems.”
Trump’s claims contradict guidance from the Food and Drug Administration saying that doctors should not prescribe hydroxychloroquine to coronavirus patients over concerns that the drug can cause heart problems and increase mortality rates.
But Trump credited a controversial video clip that he retweeted late Monday featuring doctors speaking favorably of the drug, which has historically been used to treat malaria.
“I can tell you this: She was on air, along with many other doctors, and they were big fans of hydroxychloroquine. I thought she was very impressive,” Trump said of one of the doctors in the clip, Stella Immanuel, a Houston-area physician and religious minister.
Beyond pushing hydroxychloroquine, Immanuel falsely claims in the video that face masks aren’t effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The video was taken down by Twitter because of the platform’s policy against “misinformation” about the virus.
Immanuel has also pushed outlandish claims about DNA from outer-space aliens being used in modern medicine and that some diseases are caused by the “sperm” of “demons.”
When a reporter asked Trump about those bizarre assertions, he cut the briefing short and left the room.
Earlier in the briefing, Trump complained about his plummeting approval ratings as compared to those of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top medical adviser on the White House coronavirus task force.
“He’s got a high approval rating. Why don’t I have a high approval rating?” Trump said. “Nobody likes me. … It can only be my personality.”
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