I've said on a couple of occasions that I suspect the president promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 for some reason other than personal profit -- I understand why so many people assumed he must have been doing it because sales of the drug would earn him money, but the evidence didn't seem to be there, and even Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, who's a fierce Trump critic, doesn't believe Trump's small investment in a mutual fund that includes a hydroxychloroquine manufacturer is sufficient explanation for Trump's actions, because the potential profits are too meager.
Well, now we have more possible evidence that Trump wasn't hyping the drug for personal profit:
A top Health and Human Services official who said he was transferred from his post for pushing back on "efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections" felt pressured to rush access to chloroquine treatments for the coronavirus after President Donald Trump had a conversation about it with a mega-rich donor, a source close to the doctor told NBC News.
Dr. Rick Bright said he was instructed to implement a national program aimed at expanding access to the drug without proper controls and despite the lack of peer-reviewed clinical data on the drug's effectiveness following a conversation Trump had with Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison, the source said.
Ellison, one of the president's top supporters in the tech industry, is a member of the White House economic recovery task force. He hosted a big-money fundraiser for Trump at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, in February.
If this is correct, then Trump isn't a kleptocrat -- he's just an ordinary bootlicking politician who'll say or do whatever a big-money donor wants. This is true even though Trump is supposedly a rich guy who doesn't need the campaign cash (which doesn't prevent him from trying to raise boatloads of it).
We know that Trump is completely lacking in empathy and doesn't care about the tens of thousands of people who are suffering and dying as a result of this pandemic -- all he cares about is personal gain. But as it turns out, he's not even out for that much gain. He doesn't seem to want to make a dime off this drug. All he wants is to please someone richer than himself and to be reelected. That's how little it takes to override the interests of the American people, as far as Trump is concerned.
Published with permission of No More Mr. Nice Blog
UPDATE (Karoli): Here's a whole feature Forbes did on Larry Ellison's plan to fight 'rona right alongside Trump.