President Donald Trump has spent months praising hydroxychloroquine as a miracle cure of sorts but, at least according to the White House, Trump hasn’t taken the old malaria drug himself. Understandably, some of the drug’s supporters were very upset.
So why didn’t Trump take it? Presumably, because as doctors pointed out for months, it’s ineffective.
The odyssey of Trump and hydroxychloroquine goes back to the very beginning of the pandemic. The drug has been in use for decades for malaria, and it was one of the first promising drugs considered for the treatment of COVID-19. But as the clinical trials started coming in, it became clearer and clearer that, unfortunately, the drug isn’t really effective. Some, however, were not convinced.
Support for hydroxychloroquine came not so much from reputable scientists, but rather from a rather bizarre crowd. For starters, there is Stella Immanuel, the Houston-based doctor-preacher who said that fasting can cure those affected by ‘witchcraft’ and that gynecological problems are caused by having sex with demons while dreaming. Immanuel is part of a group of doctors claiming that hydroxychloroquine is a “cure” for COVID-19. Trump shared a video of the group on his Twitter account and called Immanuel “very impressive.”
Well now Immanuel is very upset. She says Trump is surrounded by “bozo doctors” and should have been given hydroxychloroquine instead.
“Instead of giving the president of the United States a known safe drug,” Immanuel tweeted. “They gave him some experimental antibody stupidness. This is so dumb. Please potus family you guys wake up. Give him HCQ, Zpack & zinc asap.” “Whoever told the president to stop taking HCQ should be punched in the face,” she said in an earlier tweet. “This did not have to happened. I am so upset. This is our president for crying out loud. No one need to get sick or pcr positive.”
Then, there’s Dennis Prager, founder of right-wing think tank PragerU, who blamed the “communists running medicine” for the lack of support for hydroxychloroquine.
“It’s unconscionable, the hysteria with regard to it,” he said in August, adding that there was “blood on the hands” of doctors and journalists who downplay hydroxychloroquine.
Several notable fringe websites were also upset; one such website urged readers to literally “contact the White House to ask why the president and Melania are not immediately being given this well-proven-in-practice medication protocol for COVID infection.”
The reaction is, in one way, understandable — despite his doctors, Trump himself has touted the benefits of hydroxychloroquine, even reportedly taking a prophylatic regimen. But when it comes to an actual disease, the president was unwilling to follow through with his own recommendation.
Ultimately, it’s completely normal that the president of the United States isn’t administered an unproven treatment — but that’s the only normal thing in this story.