President Donald Trump is a clinical scientist — or at least he plays one on TV.
At a press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic Friday, Trump said he was feeling pretty good about one potential therapy for the respiratory disease, the anti-malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine.
The drug has shown some promise in limited laboratory settings and patient use, but it’s far from a proven cure.
“I am a man that comes from a very positive school when it comes to, in particular, one of these drugs,” Trump said of the drug Friday, adding: “That would be a game changer.”
That clashed with the line from the government’s top infectious disease expert just a minute earlier.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading voice in the government’s COVID-19 response, pointed out that while Hydroxychloroquine had shown “potential” against the disease, it had not been clinically approved for use.
“Dr. Fauci said there is no magic drug for coronavirus right now, which you would agree?” NBC’s Peter Alexander pressed Trump.
“Well, I think we only disagree a little bit,” Trump responded. “Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t.”
The President soldiered on. “I feel good about it,” he said. “That’s all it is, just a feeling. I’m a smart guy.”
“I’m not being overly optimistic or pessimistic,” Trump added. “I sure as hell think we ought to give it a try. There’s been some interesting things happening and some very good things. Let’s see what happens. We have nothing to lose.”
“You know the expression: What the hell do you have to lose?”
Trump describes some of his clinical disagreements with Dr Fauci on drug efficacy. pic.twitter.com/ukzrYybqxE
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 20, 2020