The stunning announcement from Donald Trump during a press briefing on Monday that he’s been taking the medication hydroxychloroquine for a couple weeks has elicited strong reactions. The drug has not been proven effective in treating or preventing COVID-19, and in some cases can be very dangerous.
“I’m taking it for about a week and a half now and I’m still here, I’m still here,” Trump said. “You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers before you catch it, the frontline workers, many, many are taking it. I happen to be taking it.”
Shortly after the announcement, Fox News Fox host Neil Cavuto went on air and warned the American people about taking the drug. “If you are in a risky population here, and you are taking this as a preventative treatment … it will kill you. I cannot stress enough. This will kill you,” he said.
Fox News on hydroxychloroquine in the last two days:
Neil Cavuto: It’ll kill you!!!
Laura Ingraham: Take it! Take it! Take it!
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) May 18, 2020
That warning did not sit well with the president, who went on a tweet storm bashing Cavuto and Fox News. “Fox News is no longer the same. We miss the great Roger Ailes. You have more anti-Trump people, by far, than ever before. Looking for a new outlet!” he wrote, referencing the late CEO of the network who has been accusing of sexual abuse by many women who worked for the network.
Trump was asked if he has any evidence that the drug has positive benefits. “Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it,” he replied. “I’ve heard a lot of good stories [about hydroxychloroquine] and if it’s not good, I’ll tell you right I’m not going to get hurt by it,” he added.
After the press conference, Trump’s personal physician released a statement about the president taking the drug.
“After numerous discussions he and I had regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks,” it read in part.
“I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say,” Pelosi said. “So, I think that it’s not a good idea.”
This isn’t the first time Trump has touted an unproven COVID-19 treatment. Last month, he suggested that disinfectants or UV light could solve the problem.