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AG Bill Barr Touts Hyrdoxychloroquine as ‘Very Promising,’ Claims Press Waging ‘Jihad’ Against Drug to Attack Trump

Attorney General Bill Barr weighed in on the potential merits of the anti-malarial drug hyrdoxychloroquine during a Fox News appearance on Wednesday, touting it as “very promising” before bashing the press for waging an alleged “jihad” against the drug to spite President Donald Trump.

The head of the Department of Justice offered his opinion about the drug after being asked about it by host Laura Ingraham. The Fox News primetime figure has become a dogged cheerleader for the drug’s potential as a therapeutic for the coronavirus, despite the fact that it has yet to pass any large-scale controlled study for that treatment. She directly pleaded her case for hyrdoxychloroquine with the president during a private White House meeting with Trump last week. And the day before her Barr interview, Ingraham hosted two doctors in her “medicine cabinet” to talk up the drug in long segment, during which she mocked and attacked a virus expert who had cast doubt on hydroxychloroquine’s potential efficacy during an early Fox News appearance.

“Have you been surprised at how wildly partisan a response to this pandemic has become in the United States?” Ingraham asked in the second part of her one-on-one with the attorney general. “I know everything’s political, but this is about saving lives and saving the broader life of America and yet, from a drug like hydroxychloroquine that’s been around for 65 years, 70 years, and other measures the president has taken, working with Democratic governors, quite well, it looks like. It never seems to be good enough.”

“No, I have been surprised at it,” Barr said. “In fact, it’s very disappointing because I think the president went out at the beginning of this thing and really was statesmanlike, trying to bring people together, working with all the governors, keeping his patience as he got these snarky, gotcha questions from the White House media pool.”

“The stridency of the partisan attacks on him has gotten higher and higher and it’s really disappointing to see in the politicization of things like hyrdorxychloroquine has been amazing to me,” Barr added. Trump first mentioned the drug at a press briefing on March 19, falsely claiming that it was “FDA approved” for treating the coronavirus. He has since backtracked on that claim but continues to push the drug with the notable caveat: “What do I know, I’m not a doctor?”

“Before the president said anything about it, there was fair and balanced coverage of this very promising drug,” continued Barr, who grinned knowingly as he said “fair and balanced,” Fox News’ former catchphrase. “The fact that it had such a long track record, that the risks were pretty well known, and as soon as he said something positive about it, the media has been on a jihad to discredit the drug. It’s quite strange.”

However, skeptical press questions about hydroxychloroquine have followed the lead of Trump’s own infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has repeatedly tempered Trump’s optimism and expressed doubts about its off-label usage to treat COVID-19. On the same day the president first mentioned chloroquine and called it a “game changer,” Fauci said “the answer is no” when asked if the drug was promising, and warned “the evidence you’re talking about … is anecdotal evidence.”

Watch the video above, via Fox News.

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