A New York Times story highlighting President Trump’s “small personal financial interest” in a French pharmaceutical company that sells the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine went viral Tuesday, as pundits and activists ignored the fact that Trump’s holdings likely amount to less than $1,000 and that the company does not sell the drug in the U.S.
The Times report cited the president’s financial records and those of his prominent allies to explain that Trump’s “aggressive advocacy” of hydroxychloroquine in the fight against coronavirus — despite a lack of clinical evidence that it is effective — may be financially motivated.
The president’s stake in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes the brand-name version “Plaquenil,” as well as his family trusts’ holdings in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund whose largest holding was in Sanofi, drew immediate interest from liberal commentators.
“Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.” https://t.co/XlLZr2gMZz
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 7, 2020
"If hydroxychloroquine becomes an accepted treatment, several pharmaceutical companies stand to profit, including shareholders and senior executives with connections to the president. Mr. Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi." https://t.co/JSmuvM78aC
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 7, 2020
“Trump’s supporters have financial interests in the issue. Sanofi’s largest shareholders include Ken Fisher’s firm, a major donor to Trump. Trump’s three family trusts have each had investments in a mutual fund whose largest holding was in Sanofi.” https://t.co/gSiDrX33I8
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) April 7, 2020
THE NEW YORK TIMES: "Mr. Trump has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine….[his] assertiveness in pressing the case [for it]…has raised questions about his motives." https://t.co/qXxRPJrIZf
— Seth Abramson (@🏠) (@SethAbramson) April 7, 2020
The story blew up and received coverage from other liberal outlets, including the Daily Beast and Huff Post, neither of which mentioned that a Sanofi spokeswoman told the Times it no longer sells or distributes Plaquenil in the U.S. “Hydroxychloroquine” and “Sanofi” also trended throughout the day on Twitter.
But the Times failed to mention exactly how much Trump’s investment in the drug maker was worth, which Business Insider, Forbes, and MarketWatch later pointed out comprises a miniscule portion of his $2.1 billion net worth.
According to Trump’s 2019 financial records, he owns between $1,000 and $15,000 in the Dodge & Cox fund, which owns approximately a 3 percent stake in Sanofi. If all three of his family trusts hold the full $15,000 in Dodge & Cox — $45,000 in total — then a 3 percent share amounts to $1,350. If, alternatively, each trust has invested the minimum $1,000 — for a total of $3,000 — the 3 percent stake is worth $90.