Day 1,155: Trump keeps making up coronavirus response as he goes
With the U.S. dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump is, in theory, attempting to lead the nation at a time of crisis.
And yet he has treated the disease extraordinarily cavalierly, including overseeing a delayed response, swearing it was under control when it wasn’t and calling it a hoax. He continues to treat the response as if he’s filming episode four of a reality show called The Apprentice: White House.
For instance, two days ago, Trump called Dr. Anthony Fauci, a world-renowned infection disease physician, a “major television star” due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump seems to revel in the daily coronavirus briefings. He gets to be in the limelight and not answer questions about Robert Mueller, Russia or Ukraine.
But he stands at the podium, waves his hands, speaks in generalities and just makes things up. It’s been that way for months and is on-going. Often, those lies deal with timelines and treatments. Three weeks ago, Trump said a coronavirus vaccine was “very close,” when in reality, it’ll be well into 2021 before one is readily available.
Thursday, he was at it again, claiming the FDA “approved” the use of chloroquine to treat coronavirus.
“It’s shown very encouraging — very, very encouraging early results. And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. And that’s where the FDA has been so great. They — they’ve gone through the approval process; it’s been approved. And they did it — they took it down from many, many months to immediate. So we’re going to be able to make that drug available by prescription or states,” Trump said.
He added: “Normally the FDA would take a long time to approve something like that, and it’s — it was approved very, very quickly and it’s now approved, by prescription.”
In reality, there was no such approval.
The FDA said in the statement that it is working with government and academic entities that are investigating whether chloroquine can be used “to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 to potentially reduce the duration of symptoms, as well as viral shedding, which can help prevent the spread of disease.”
Studies are underway. Hahn emphasized that this study process is necessary even though the coronavirus situation is urgent.
Trump hasn’t bothered to learn about the coronavirus at a time when facts and specifics matter more than ever. Maybe he doesn’t have the interest in the subject or maybe he doesn’t have the ability to keep up, but this is the job he wanted, and this is the job he has.
The lies were just one part of a completely disastrous and incoherent briefing where he lashed out against the media and cracked jokes about social distancing.
While discussing some of the federal government’s work to establish new treatments for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, he started to boast about passing “right to try,” an unrelated law that attempts to let terminally sick people use experimental treatments.
Here is just one small section of Trump’s comments:
We’re also reviewing drugs that are approved abroad or drugs approved here for other uses. And, you know, one of the things that I’m most proud of that I got was “right to try.” That’s where somebody who is ill, somebody who is very sick — terminally ill, usually. In past administrations — we signed this a year and a half ago — you wouldn’t even be able to think about getting these drugs. They’ve been trying for decades to get these drugs approved. And it sounds simple, but it’s not. There’s liability and all kinds of things. I was able to get it approved — “right to try.” This is beyond “right to try.” What we’re talking about today is beyond “right to try.” “Right to try,” by the way, has been a tremendous success. People are living now that had no chance of living.
Trump’s ignorance was revealed yet again Thursday, as it has virtually everyday since the outbreak was reported. Lives are on the line and Trump is more concerned with how he appears on camera than protecting those lives.
1,155 days in, 307 to go
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