President Trump stopped Dr. Tony Fauci from answering a question about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating the coronavirus as he tried to push a more hopeful message about the pandemic.
Trump started his daily press briefing today on a hopeful note, saying there was a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ – a marked contrast to his surgeon general who warned earlier today that ‘the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives’ was coming up.
‘We’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. And hopefully in the not-too-distant future we’ll be very proud of the job we all did,’ Trump said.
Trump started his press conference late, to coincide with the beginning of an internet town hall hosted by former Vice President Joe Biden.
Politics continues to be the top of Trump’s mind, even during a pandemic with thousands of his citizens dying.
Trump’s tone grew more brisk as he was questioned on the anti-malaria drug he’s advocated as a barrier against the highly contentious disease.
Trump has even said he’d consider taking it himself.
Fauci has warned Americans not to consider it a ‘knock out’ drug when it comes to the coronavirus.
But Trump stopped Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, from answering a question about using hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus during Sunday’s briefing.
‘You know how many times he’s answered that question: 15 times,’ Trump told CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond, who tried to question Fauci.
‘You don’t have to answer that question,’ Trump told the doctor.
And then he turned back to Diamond. ‘He’s answered that question 15 times.’
Fauci had not answered the question once during the press conference.
Trump announced today the government has purchased and stockpiled 29 million doses of the hydroxychloroquine to send to hot spot areas of the country battling the virus.
He noted he wasn’t acting ‘as a doctor’ but noted ‘if it works, that would be great.’
Hydroxychloroquine itself can’t be used by all Americans.
It has a laundry list of side effects including slowing the heartbeat, arm, leg and back pain, symptoms of heart failure, hair loss, worsening of skin conditions, stomach and abdominal pain.
The mental health side effects alone include anxiety, depression, rare thoughts of suicide and hallucinations.
Fauci and White House trade advisor Peter Navarro had a heated exchange on the drug during Saturday’s coronavirus task force meeting at the White House, Axios reported.
Trump tasked Navarro with purchasing supplies to combat the coronavirus and, in that meeting, he defended his purchase of hydroxychloroquine at that meeting.
Fauci pushed back against Navarro, saying that there was only anecdotal evidence that it works against the coronavirus.
Trump also defended his sounding a hopeful note even as Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned of a tough week ahead in the fight against the coronavirus.
‘I see light at the end of the tunnel. I think indications are some of the numbers coming out today. I think we had a very good meeting today and we are seeing things we don’t even report because it’s too early to report. They think we are seeing things happen that are very good and we also know, all of us including the medical professions, we have to open our country up,’ the president said.
Adams had a different message when he made the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows.
‘This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly,’ Adams told Fox News Sunday.
‘This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment – only it’s not going to be localized, it’s going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that,’ he continued in his warning to Americans.
Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, also has promoted the drug to Trump.