Trump reiterates hydroxychloroquine defense after son is banned from Twitter
Donald Trump has launched another defence of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 which goes against prevailing medical advice.
The President’s comments came after Twitter banned his eldest son from tweeting for 12 hours, after he posted a video which repeated the assertion that hydroxychloroquine is a “cure” for COVID-19.
Donald Trump Junior’s account has now been reinstated and he lost no time in accusing Twitter and other tech platforms of double standards and censoring conservative viewpoints that are “contrary to the narrative that they have been force-feeding us” in an interview with Fox News.
The controversial video by members of the group America's Frontline Doctors – now taken down – promoted hydroxychloroquine as effective for both preventing and treating COVID-19, despite a series of clinical trials that have not found a benefit with the drug.
There is also a risk that it can cause cardiac problems in some patients, so medical advice at the moment – from organisations including the World Health Organisation and the FDA – is that it should not be used to treat coronavirus patients.
Donald Trump Jr’s suspension came shortly after a string of retweets from President Trump in favour of the medicine resulted in hydroxychloroquine trending on the social media platform.
Trump Senior previously said that he had been taking hydroxychloroquine prophylactically and defending that use once again after his son was suspended, saying it had only been rejected as a treatment for coronavirus infections because he had endorsed it.
The President said he believes in the drug during a White House press conference, adding: “I don't think you lose anything by doing it, other than politically it doesn't seem too popular.”
That’s a view not shared by Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), who has been accused by the President of misleading the American public.
Trump walked out of the press conference after he was challenged over comments extolling one of the doctors featured in the video – Stella Immanuel – who has been quoted as saying masks don’t work and that there is already a cure for COVID-19 – namely hydroxychloroquine, zinc and azithromycin.
Immanuel also denounced clinicians asking for double-blind study evidence for treatments as “fake doctors” who are “sounding like a computer.”
The controversial doctor and pastor had also made videos claiming that alien DNA was being used in medical treatments, and that scientists have been developing a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. Trump had described her as “very impressive.”
Immanuel claims to have treated 350 coronavirus cases with hydroxychloroquine, and has appealed for patients to come forward to endorse the treatment, saying: “we are being attacked, ridiculed and discredited.”
The 45-minute video was broadcast online by right-wing online platform Breitbart, and attracted millions of views and several hundred thousand shares before it was taken down.
In a statement, Twitter said: “Tweets with the video are in violation of our Covid-19 misinformation policy”, while Facebook and YouTube have also said they have pulled it from their platforms.