Attorney General Bill Barr called the media’s reaction to the use of hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for coronavirus “quite strange,” and criticized the “jihad” aimed at discrediting the drug following President Trump’s touting of it as a potential “game-changer.”
“The politicization of decisions like hydroxychloroquine has been amazing to me,” Barr said in an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “Before the president said anything about it, there was fair and balanced coverage of this very promising drug, and the fact that it had such a long track record that the risks were pretty well known, and as soon as he said something positive about it, the media’s been on a jihad to discredit the drug. It’s been quite strange.”
Ingraham reportedly brought two doctors whom she regularly features on her show to a private meeting with Trump last week to talk up the efficacy of the drug.
Trump tweeted on March 21 that the anti-malarial drug had “a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,” following anecdotal evidence that it had been effective in treating coronavirus patients.
Following Trump’s promotion of the drug, which White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci has cautioned against, NBC News reported on March 23 that an Arizona man died after ingesting fish-tank cleaner that contained chloroquine phosphate on his wife’s recommendation, citing Trump’s praise of hydroxychloroquine. The Washington Free Beacon later revealed that the woman was a prolific donor to Democratic causes.
A Tuesday New York Times story highlighting President Trump’s “small personal financial interest” in a French maker of hydroxychloroquine went viral, despite the fact that the brand-label drug is not available in the U.S. Further reporting revealed that the stake was likely less than $1,000.
Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) on Wednesday told ABC’s The View that President Trump is a “drug-pusher” for promoting hydroxychloroquine.