Trump Bizarrely Cites Unnamed ‘Positive Calls,’ Random Doctor for Decision to Take Hydroxychloroquine, Contradicting FDA, NIH, AMA Advice
In a stunning admission, President Donald Trump casually revealed that he had been taking the anti-malarial drug hyrdoxychloroquine “everyday” for the past week-and-a-half as a preventative treatment for the coronavirus. Incredibly, when asked directly why he decided to take it — after the expert advice of much of professional medical community and his own administration’s public health officials have warned against it — the president cited “a lot of positive calls” from unnamed persons and a family doctor from upstate New York who has had videos taken down from YouTube and Facebook for spreading misinformation about the virus.
Trump’s revelation came during a White House press availability on Monday, and sprung forth after he bitterly complained about HHS whistleblower, Dr. Rick Bright, who claims he was retaliated against by the Trump administration and demoted after objecting to guidance that his agency investigate hyrdorxychloroquine because of the president’s cheerleading of the drug.
“And this other guy with the hydroxychloroquine, okay, well he went out, and he is the one that approved the hydroxychloroquine,” Trump claimed in a bombshell announcement. “”You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the front-line workers before you catch it. The front-line workers — many, many are taking it. I happened to be taking it. I happened to be taking it. Hydroxychloroquine. Right now, yeah. A couple of weeks ago, I started taking it. I’ve heard a lot of good stories. And if it is not good, I will tell you, right?”
Trump was then pressed for his decision to take a drug that has failed in numerous clinical trials in safely treating Covid-19, including two new French studies announced last week. The president then explained that he began taking the drug in early May after a private conversation with the White House doctor about it, who deferred to Trump’s decision about using it.
“I asked him, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘Well, if you’d like it.’ I said I would like it. A lot of front-line workers are taking hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said. “There is a very good chance that this has an impact, especially early on. But you look at front-line workers. You look at doctors and nurses. A lot of them are taking it. As a preventative. And they are taking totally unrelated, but they take the Z-pac or the azithromycin for possible infection. Now, I haven’t taken that other than the original dose, because you don’t have to take it simultaneously. But the zinc, you do take. So, I’m taking the two. The zinc and the hydroxy eight. All I can tell you is so far I seem to be okay.”
“But I get a lot of tremendously positive news on the hydroxy,” Trump then claimed. “And I say, hey, do you know the expression I’ve used, John? What do you have to lose? What do you have to lose?
In fact, a growing body of evidence finds patients have, in fact, a lot to lose by using the drug, since it has had no clinically proven effect on the coronavirus as either a treatment or prophylactic, and some studies have found excess risk and even higher rates of death from taking it.
For instance, the AMA president ominously warned when Trump made the exact same “what have you got to lose” off-hand comment about the drug in early April: “You could lose your life.” The Journal of American Medical Association, in an editorial last month, also pointed to several “discouraging findings” about the drug, and urged “caution” about prescribing it.
Recently, the FDA has warned against any usage of it outside of a hospital or clinical trial, neither of which fit the President’s treatment.
In addition, the National Institutes of Health have also wanted against it, issuing an alert to doctors not to prescribe it with the antibiotic azithromycin that Trump mentioned because of the “potential for toxicities.”
Even the CIA has privately urged employees not to take the drug on their own and noted that it had “potentially significant side effects, including sudden cardiac death.”
When a reporter followed up about the reasoning for his decision, Trump pushed back by citing zero epidemiologists or medical studies.
“Here we go. Are you ready? Here’s my evidence. I get a lot of positive calls about it,” he said. “The only negative I heard — was at the VA? People that aren’t big Trump fans.” Trump was alluding to a Veterans’ Affairs hospital study — that was not a clinical trial — that found that elderly patients who took hyrdoxychloroquine were twice as likely to die as those that didn’t. The study also concluded the drug had “no benefit” to the patients studied.
Trump further pointed to a letter he received from a doctor in upstate New York, who spoke glowingly of the drug and his alleged perfect record treating patients with it. The president was likely referring to Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, who says he has treated several hundred Covid-19 patients in and around the Jewish community of Kiryas Joel. But Zelenko has been directly rebuked by county health officials for making “unsubstantiated and irresponsible” claims and both YouTube and Facebook have taken down some of his videos for violating the rules about spreading misinformation.
“I got a letter from the doctor the other day from Westchester, New York, around the area. He didn’t want anything. He said I have hundreds of patients, and I give them hydroxychloroquine,” Trump recounted. “Out of hundreds of patients, many hundreds, over 300 patients, I haven’t lost one. He said please keep pressing that.”
“I’ve received many such letters. I received a lot of positive letters,” Trump added, before hedging on the medical treatment that he himself is following. “And it seems to have an impact, maybe it does, maybe he doesn’t. If it doesn’t, you’re not going to get sick or die.”
Watch the video above, via Fox News.
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