Thursday, April 09, 2020

The Left’s Ugly Reaction to Hydroxychloroquine

By David Harsanyi| National Review

The idea that he is promoting the drug to boost the price of a mutual fund in which he owns shares is perhaps the most ludicrous conspiracy theory yet.

A  widely shared, four-person-bylined, “wow”-provoking New York Times story today informs us that Donald Trump is personally benefiting from his “aggressive advocacy” of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine because he owns stock in one of the companies that manufacture the drug.

The story might be one of the most ridiculous articles published by mainstream media in the Trump era — though, admittedly, the field is highly competitive. But while knee-jerk anti-Trumpism is expected, the angry obsession over the president’s championing of hydroxychloroquine is uniquely ugly.

For one thing, and I realize this might be difficult for some people to comprehend, it’s plausible, even likely, that Trump advocates for chloroquine because he is legitimately optimistic that a therapeutic answer might help Americans. Even if you feel he’s being reckless when speaking about the drug, you can accept that his intentions are good.

It’s also possible that Trump is hopeful about hydroxychloroquine because he thinks it will help his reelection. Desiring an outcome that benefits the vast majority of Americans, but also benefits you, is a perfectly sound moral position. Hoping for negative outcomes to strengthen your partisan position, on the other hand, is pretty nefarious.

In any event, the crack team at the New York Times thinks it’s unfurled the mystery. “As of last year,” reports the paper, “Mr. Trump reported that his three family trusts each had investments in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund, whose largest holding was in Sanofi.”

As far as we know, Trump probably owns less than $100 of Sanofi stock in one of his mutual funds. If things go well, say he triples his position, Trump will be taking in upwards of $300. Art of the Deal, indeed.

Though it’s unlikely. Sanofi is a French drugmaker that produces the hydroxychloroquine-label Plaquenil. The drug, however, isn’t patented, it isn’t particularly difficult to manufacture, and there are a bunch of giant pharma companies around the world already ramping up production of generic versions. Sanofi is less likely to benefit than Novartis or Bayer (check everyone’s mutual funds, pronto!).

So cunning is Trump’s scheme to spike his $1,000 mutual-fund position that he called India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, this week and convinced him to lift a ban and start exporting even more generic hydroxychloroquine to the United States.

The Left simply can’t accept that a Republican acts in good faith. If they’re not hiding some devious self-serving motivation, they’re under the thumb of a foreign power or a shadowy industry. If it’s not Big Oil leading George Bush into Iraq, it’s Mitt Romney trying to hand the country to his buddies at Bain Capital.

Working from this predetermined position, reporters are sure that Trump, who they think became president to fill the rooms in his D.C. hotel, isn’t merely peddling hope for hope’s sake alone.

All of this is just fodder for the screeching partisan minions, nothing else. If there were a healthy, functioning fourth column, a piece like this would never run.  Can you imagine any major publication running a piece linking Barack Obama’s praise of GM’s heavily subsidized electric-car manufacturing to a thousand bucks in a mutual fund?

Nor should it escape your attention that the New York Times will assign four reporters to write an amateurish hit job, but not a single one to mention serious rape allegations against the leading Democratic Party presidential candidate by a former staffer.

When Trump first mentioned hydroxychloroquine, reporters scoured the world to find overdose cases so they could claim the president had blood on his hands. When that effort came up short, they clutched pearls after some nitwit couple thought it wise to ingest fish-tank cleaning liquid. Now this.

Hydroxychloroquine is a prescription drug, not a pill that Americans can buy in bulk at the local Walmart and hoard in their closest and pop prophylactically each day. Media keeps asserting that Trump is “ignoring the experts.” Well, the president didn’t induce South Korean doctors to use hydroxychloroquine. He didn’t induce Indian doctors to use it. I assume American doctors who are now “off-labeling” the drug to patients have some medical reasons behind their thinking.

If doctors think it’s promising to look at it as a way to mitigate symptoms, why shouldn’t they go for it? It might help. It might not. Maybe another drug or treatment no one is talking about will emerge. There is nothing wrong with offering hope. Americans aren’t children, even if our media treats them as such.

(You don’t need to send me angry emails detailing all the downsides of championing potential drugs already in use for other diseases. One of my children takes hydroxychloroquine to help mitigate a dangerous autoimmune condition. I’ve already had to work hard to track down hydroxychloroquine because we live in a world with unethical hospitals and doctors who hoard it. Believe it or not, they’d still be doing it if the president hadn’t ever mentioned it, because they believe it holds promise.)

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun.  @davidharsanyi



Reports Are In: Malaria Drug Saves Lives in Coronavirus Crisis, Doctors and Patients Say


LHC Group’s Bruce Greenstein elbow bumps with President Donald Trump during a news conference about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden at the White House, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Reports are in: Hydroxychloroquine is saving lives and President Donald Trump deserves praise for advocating the malaria drug as a potential cure for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. A small study in France laid the groundwork for using the drug in treatment. Doctors and patients across America have reported positive results, despite constant naysaying from left-leaning media outlets.

On Monday, Democratic Michigan state Rep. Karen Whitsett credited President Trump with effectively saving her life. She suffered from COVID-19 but recovered after taking the drug. "If President Trump had not talked about it, it would not be something that's accessible" in Michigan, she told Fox News, due to "an order that was put down in my state." Indeed, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) initially threatened physicians who would offer the drug to coronavirus patients — before reversing herself and even requesting the malaria drug from the Trump administration.

When asked if she thinks Trump saved her life, Whitsett said, "Yes, I do," and, "I do thank him for that."

Hydroxychloroquine isn't just saving lives in Michigan, however. Dr. Anthony Cardillo, the CEO of Mend Urgent Care in Los Angeles, said he is witnessing "significant success" in prescribing hydroxychloroquine to coronavirus patients.

"Every patient I've prescribed it to has been very, very ill and within eight to twelve hours, they were basically symptom-free," Cardillo told ABC News.

In Pennsylvania, Lisa Smarra told local news that her 76-year-old father Bob is improving after being treated with the malaria drug. She recalled first hearing about the drug from President Trump.

"It's amazing," she said. "I love my dad so much... I am so happy that he's okay."

David Lat, a New York area lawyer and founder of Above the Law, recovered from COVID-19. Among other things, he took hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin. He also took clazakizumab as part of a trial and lopinavir/ritonavir (brand name Kaletra). As for hydroxychloroquine, he wrote, "my mother, a pathologist, is firmly convinced that it saved my life."

Indeed, Trade Representative Peter Navarro, a member of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, told CNN's John Berman that "in the New York health and hospitals system, virtually every patient now that comes in presenting COVID-19 symptoms is given a cycle of hydroxychloroquine."

"When I discussed this last night with Mitch Katz, who is the head of that system, I asked him, are you doing that because the federal government is telling you or because you think it may work? And he said quite clearly that it may work," Navarro added.

He further informed Berman that the task force unanimously agreed that the Trump administration "should take the 29 million doses in the FEMA storehouses and surge them into the zones" where COVID-19 is raging fiercely.

Of the malaria drug, Navarro said, "the scientific studies that I have seen point to the possibility that it has both therapeutic efficacy as well as possible prophylactic efficacy. When you speak to doctors and nurses on the front lines ask how many of them are taking hydroxy as a prophylactic in the war zone."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) requested more hydroxychloroquine from the Trump administration after seeing "promising" results from the drug when used on coronavirus patients. The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for the drug to be used for COVID-19.

Hydroxychloroquine is not a silver bullet for COVID-19, and there is a great deal more to learn about how well this malaria drug works against the coronavirus. However, given the success in these and other cases, the media's efforts to contradict Trump on the drug are utterly reprehensible. Left-leaning outlets seized on a case where a man died after ingesting fish tank cleaner as supposed evidence against the malaria drug.

On Sunday, Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Ohio) announced she would refer Trump to The Hague for "crimes against humanity" apparently because of his advocacy for the malaria drug during his coronavirus press briefings.
Welcome to 2020, folks. Democrats think saving lives is a "crime against humanity."

Tyler O'Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.