MSNBC contributor Claire McCaskill, a former Democratic senator from Missouri, suggested on Wednesday morning that President Donald Trump’s promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for COVID-19 could be driven by financial gain, specifically if Russian President Vladimir Putin profits from it.
Describing the United States as “a country where states are on fire with coronavirus,” MSNBC host Willie Geist said that “people are worried about their jobs and they’re worried about whether or not their kids are going to go back to school.” Yet, Geist said, “you see a president standing there who doesn’t grasp that, who’s not handling that, who’s hoping that this magic bullet, a pill called hydroxychloroquine, which has been proven not to be effective, as Dr. Fauci said, will somehow, as he has said, ‘magically make this all disappear.'”
McCaskill responded, “Yeah, Willie, I can answer the president’s question. He wants to know why his approval ratings are so low. It’s because he’s a dangerous, incompetent jerk.”
“It’s not any more complicated than that,” McCaskill, who lost re-election to Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) in 2018, said. “I really am interested on this hydroxychloroquine. I’m interested to ask Jonathan Lemire, as he’s in the press room and as he’s working his sources and his news agency is working sources, I’m assuming there’s investigative types out there following the money on hydroxy.”
“Because it’s the only thing that makes sense,” McCaskill stressed. “You know, does Putin have a stake in hydroxy? You know, is the Deutsche Bank backing hydroxy? It is baffling to me that there is such a chorus within the Trump base and the Trump media outlets and Trump about this drug. It has to be money.”
“Is somebody looking at that?” McCaskill added. “Is there any hope that we’re going to find that there’s somebody who’s making real money off this?”
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) July 29, 2020
The segment comes after a reporter asked Trump yesterday about a video post he retweeted that claimed that the drug was effective at treating COVID-19.
“Well, that was — I wasn’t making claims,” Trump said. “The — it’s recommendations of many other peoples and — people, including doctors. Many doctors think it is extremely successful, the hydroxychloroquine, coupled with the zinc and perhaps the azithromycin. But many doctors think it’s extremely good, and some people don’t. … I think it’s become very political.”
“I happen to believe in it. I would take it,” Trump continued. “As you know, I took it for a 14-day period, and I’m here. Right? I’m here. I happen to think it works in the early stages. I think frontline medical people believe that too — some, many. And so we’ll take a look at it.”
Trump noted that the drug has been around for a long time and has been used to treat a variety of illnesses.
As The Daily Wire reported Tuesday, both Twitter and Facebook pulled the video posted by Trump from a group called America’s Frontline Doctors, stating that the video contained unproven and refuted claims.
While an April survey of more than 6,000 physicians across 30 countries conducted by Sermo found that 37% listed hydroxychloroquine as the “most effective therapy” for the disease, in May, “the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ended the emergency use of the anti-malarial drug for COVID-19, while the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced in June that they, too, would end their own clinical trial because it was ‘unlikely to be beneficial to hospitalized patients.'”
“Also in June, The New England Journal of Medicine reported on a study that showed that taking hydroxychloroquine was about equal to placebo pills at preventing illness from COVID-19,” The Daily Wire noted. “Then in July, the World Health Organization (WHO) also changed its recommendation for the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 after research showed ‘little or no reduction’ in deaths from the virus.”
Dr. Fauci has also described the drug as ineffective for treating the disease. “The overwhelming prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease,” Fauci told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.