Following President Donald Trump’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis and admission to Walter Reed Medical Center, right-wing media figures have pushed hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the disease, even though the drug is not effective for this purpose and has been labeled with a safety warning by the Food and Drug Administration.
Right-wing media have been touting hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, as a silver bullet since the beginning of the pandemic in an obsessive campaign to shine up the devastating incompetence of the Trump administration’s response. Here’s the latest:
- Right after Trump tweeted out his positive diagnosis in the early morning hours of October 2, Fox host Sean Hannity called in to the breaking news coverage and touted hydroxychloroquine.
- The next morning on Fox & Friends, Fox medical contributor Marc Siegel admitted that hydroxychloroquine “research has not really backed” up the efficacy of the drug, but still promoted it, saying, “I don’t think it’s ever been ruled out.”
- When Fox host Steve Doocy asked former White House doctor Ronny Jackson if Trump should have continued to take hydroxychloroquine prophylactically, Jackon said hydroxychloroquine in combination with other drugs has “very few side effects” and “I do think that it’s possible that they go ahead and they reinstitute” use.
- Fox guest Qanta Ahmed said hydroxychloroquine (which she refers to by a brand name, Plaquenil) has been “unfairly vilified,” claimed the drug was proved effective “in some studies,” and said Trump’s previous course may “have conferred him some protection.”
- Right-wing talk radio host Sebastian Gorka said on his program, “I’m sure [Trump’s] taking his hydroxy this morning just like I did this morning,” and added, “Hydroxy, Z-Pak, and zinc equals MAGA.”
- Right-wing talk radio host Dana Loesch fantasized about Trump taking hydroxychloroquine during his bout with COVID-19, saying, “What if they use hydroxy, and he gets over it, and, there you go, then he's back on the campaign trail fully recharged.”
- On Steve Bannon’s podcast War Room: Pandemic, Bannon suggested that “one of the first things [Trump] should do” is “get up on the hydroxy right away.”
- Fox host Laura Ingraham mocked CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta for mentioning that hydroxychloroquine is not effective in treating COVID-19. Her guest Dr. Stephen Smith then incorrectly claimed, “We know it works.”
- Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) tweeted: “I encourage [Donald and Melania Trump] to take hydroxychloroquine to assist with their recoveries.”
- A major QAnon figure suggested hydroxychloroquine would cure Trump:
- One Twitter account had a viral tweet claiming hydroxychloroquine would cure Trump: