Speaker of the Houes Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) escalated rhetoric against President Donald Trump in an interview with Anderson Cooper Monday night, calling the president “morbidly obese” and suggesting that he could die from taking hydroxychloroquine because the drug is “not approved.”
“I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group, and in his, shall we say, weight group: ‘Morbidly obese,’ they say,” says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Pres. Trump’s revelation he is taking hydroxychloroquine. pic.twitter.com/0ImjpEjg9q
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) May 19, 2020
Pelosi is locked in a battle with Republicans over a fourth coronavirus relief package, largely a “wish list” of Democratic policy proposals that includes everything from a bailout for the United States Postal Service to a handout to illegal immigrants who do not qualify for stimulus checks. So far, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to take up the bill, and the White House isn’t pressing any urgency on a fourth round of relief.
She took a shot at the president on CNN, instead, after learning yesterday afternoon that Trump is taking prophylactic doses of hydroxychloroquine after several close aides tested positive for COVID-19. Although the medication is not directly approved to treat the novel coronavirus, doctors across the country have prescribed it to COVID-19 patients, and Trump has touted the drug as a COVID-19 treatment.
“As far as the president is concerned, he’s our president and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group — what is it, morbidly obese they say. So I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Pelosi told Cooper.
For starters, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don’t actually use the term “morbidly obese,” per CNN, which is not typically known as an outlet with a favorable bent towards the president. And in Trump’s physical in February of last year, the president “who is 6’3″, tipped the scales at 243 pounds,” the network said, giving him a BMI of around 30, straddling the line between “overweight” and “obese,” but “far from the technical definition of ‘severe’ or ‘extreme’ (or ‘morbid’) obesity.”
Although that probably doesn’t matter to Pelosi, her claim about hydroxychloroquine is stranger. The drug, while not technically developed as a treatment for COVID-19, is an FDA approved medication and is used regularly to both prevent and treat malaria, and forms of it are regularly prescribed to treat symptoms of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The FDA has also issued an EUA — an “Emergency Use Authorization” — for off-label use of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus.
The agency has cautioned those who choose to treat and take hydroxychloroquine that it has some significant side effects and that it should only be used if both the patient and his doctor are fully informed of potential drawbacks.
The president is taking the drug along with a daily dose of zinc after consulting with the White House doctor, Dr. Sean Conley, who told reports Monday night that, “After numerous discussions he and I had about regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.”
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