A New York Times article hints that Donald Trump’s “aggressive advocacy of malaria drug [hydroxychloroquine] for treating coronavirus” could be more about his own and his cronies’ pocketbooks than about American lives. You don't say!
It’s not until the fifth and sixth paragraphs of its article about Trump's advocacy that The Times reports this:
Mr. Trump may ultimately be right, and physicians report anecdotal evidence that has provided hope. But it remains far from certain, and the president’s assertiveness in pressing the case over the advice of advisers like Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease specialist, has driven a wedge inside his coronavirus task force and has raised questions about his motives.
If hydroxychloroquine becomes an accepted treatment, several pharmaceutical companies stand to profit, including shareholders and senior executives with connections to the president. Mr. Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.
Who would have guessed? Well, just about anyone not deeply deluded by Trump’s claims to put America first.
Given that Fox News has relentlessly promoted hydroxychloroquine right along with Dear Leader, you have to suspect that those pundits are in on the action, too. Especially since The Washington Post has its own interesting reporting about Trump’s “embrace of a risky drug against coronavirus.”
He hears about the controversial anti-malarial drug on the phone from friends in New York, including from his personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani. He hears about it in White House meetings from some advisers eager to please the boss, who share anecdotes of the drug working on covid-19 patients. And he hears about it on television, from physicians on Fox News Channel panels who tout its efficacy.
In fact, Fox host Laura Ingraham and two doctors who are regular on-air guests in what she dubs her “medicine cabinet” visited the White House last Friday for a private meeting with Trump to talk up the drug, according to two White House officials and another person familiar with the meeting.
Really? Non-physician Ingraham went to the White House to talk up an experimental drug rather than, say, testing kits, PPE or ventilators? And Trump, who can’t be bothered to make sure governors get the medical equipment they’re pleading for is now all about making sure they get hydroxychloroquine.
Over the weekend, Trump’s task force decided to rush-deliver hydroxychloroquine to hospitals and pharmacies in the New York area, Detroit, New Orleans and other coronavirus hot zones, provided that the medicine be administered to patients only on the advice of their doctors.
“In peacetime, the conservative approach would be correct,” Peter Navarro, a trade adviser who recently was named the administration’s Defense Production Act policy coordinator, said in an interview. “In wartime, with the potential of mass casualties, you may have to be more forward-leaning and accept additional risk.”
The action came after Trump met with Ingraham, who has been enthusiastically promoting hydroxychloroquine on her 10 p.m. show. She brought along two guests of her program — Ramin Oskoui, a Washington-based cardiologist, and Stephen Smith, a New Jersey-based infectious disease specialist — and Trump asked that FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn attend as well.
I smell a rat.