Speed Reads

coronavirus research

Trump is still very excited about hydroxychloroquine

At Sunday night's Fox News virtual town hall, President Trump said he still talks a lot about the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment and complained that some Democrats "would rather see people — I'm going to be very nice, I'm not going to say die — I'm going to say would rather see people not get well because they think I'm going to get credit if, you know, hydroxychloroquine works." He dismissed a Veterans Affairs study suggesting the drug increased the risk of death and a subsequent FDA warning.

In his quest for a "silver bullet" to slay the coronavirus, Trump became obsessed with hydroxychloroquine after hearing frequent praise for the drug from Fox News and friends, The Washington Post reported Saturday night. "Although Trump stopped touting the drug publicly, privately he maintained his support for hydroxychloroquine and got upset with government officials presenting studies or bringing him evidence of its risks or failings, encouraging them to have a more positive outlook." Fox News host Laura Ingraham brought two doctors to the Oval Office on April 3 to talk up the malaria drug, the Post reports, adding this anecdote:

Keith Frankel, a vitamins executive who occasionally socializes with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., said the president asked him to call California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on his cellphone and try to make a deal for the nation's largest state to buy millions of tablets of hydroxychloroquine from an Indian manufacturer. Frankel said he got Newsom's phone number from Trump. ... "A guy I know sells products to these guys in India who are making the drug," Frankel said. He said he learned of the Indian manufacturer through a connection in Turkey. Several million of the pills could have been supplied, he said, but "there ended up being no deal." [The Washington Post]

Top U.S. medical officials are more excited about Remdesivir, and Trump also touted that experimental antiviral drug in the Fox News town hall. "We are putting the full power and might behind this drug," he said, without elaborating.