White House infighting as Trump suggests medicine for COVID-19
Infighting erupts in the White House over the weekend after the US President Donald Trump suggested hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the new coronavirus.
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During a press conference on Sunday, Trump contradicted one of his top health officials on coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying that the drug can cure the fatal disease.
“We have stockpiled 29 million pills of the hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said, noting that the government is using federal resources to make it available. “And they're not expensive. What do you have to lose?"
“What do I know, I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense,” Trump added.
A day earlier, economic adviser Peter Navarro went for Dr. Fauci over the antimalarial drug at a White House meeting, Axios reported.
"This drama erupted into an epic Situation Room showdown,” Axios said citing four sources.
It was near the end of the meeting when Commissioner of Food and Drugs Stephen Hahn mentioned the drug with Navarro bringing over “a stack of folders” and dropping them on the table.
“People started passing them around," Axios said in its report on Sunday.
"And the first words out of his (Navarro’s) mouth are that the studies that he's seen, I believe they're mostly overseas, show 'clear therapeutic efficacy,'" one of the sources said. "Those are the exact words out of his mouth."
Dr. Fauci then explained that the research on it, which is being carried out in China and France, is not enough and only anecdotal.
"That's science, not anecdote," according to another source who recalled Navarro as saying.
He even went further to blame Fauci for the current problems in the US.
"You were the one who early on objected to the travel restrictions with China," Navarro shouted.
Fauci, who has actually praised the travel restrictions since Trump enacted them, looked confused, according to someone in the room.
The Trump administration has come under fire from medical experts and Democrats for downplaying the threat and mishandling the crisis.
The global new coronavirus outbreak, which first began in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, has so far affected more than 1,270,000.
The United States is the country hit hardest by the coronavirus. More than 336,000 have tested positive so far across the country and over 9,600 have died there.