President Donald Trump raised eyebrows on Monday when he told reporters that he'd been taking hydroxychloroquine—an anti-malarial drug he insists can possibly cure and even prevent the virus—for weeks. This announcement came after months-long endorsements from Trump and his allies that the drug presented promising potential for a cure.
There's no sufficient evidence that hydroxychloroquine is effective against the viral pathogen that's killed over 90 thousand Americans, and the drug's dangerous side effects—which include hallucinations and heart problems—have led experts to caution against doctors prescribing it flippantly.
Due to these side effects, people were skeptical that Trump was actually taking the drug. They assumed it was one of the 18,000+ lies he's told since his inauguration. After all, Trump has gone to absurd lengths to rewrite facts in order to fit a false narrative (Sharpiegate, anyone?), so it wouldn't come as a surprise.
In the face of this skepticism, Sean P. Conley, physician to the President, released a statement to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany in order to elaborate on Trump's sudden claim.
Conley writes in the letter:
"After numerous discussions [Trump] and I had regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks...I continue to monitor the myriad studies investigating potential [virus] therapies, and I anticipate employing the same shared medical decision making based on the evidence at hand in the future."
Nowhere does Conley mention the dosage of the potentially hallucinatory drug—he doesn't even explicitly confirm that Trump has taken it.
People were suspicious of his vagueness.
The new letter from the White House physician does not actually say that he prescribed hydroxychloroquine to Trump… https://t.co/rt20hpmUv2— Kyle Griffin (@Kyle Griffin)1589847603.0
Fox & Friends reports that the president's physician "prescribed" hydroxychloroquine to Trump after the two discuss… https://t.co/CWJ5CGkB0k— Bobby Lewis (@Bobby Lewis)1589885687.0
This letter from the president’s physician doesn’t actually even say he’s taking hydroxychloroquine https://t.co/oBMjU0rFGa— Ed MD (@Ed MD)1589847568.0
I’m betting that Trump is lying about taking hydrochloroquine, since he is incapable of admitting he is wrong about… https://t.co/hD1qOxWcTc— Abu Bakr (@Abu Bakr)1589893967.0
If Trump is taking it, it's against the recommendations of his own FDA, which urges people only to take the medicine in a hospital setting due to the dangerous effects.
So is Trump lying or is he taking a medication that could give him hallucinations and increase his risk for heart failure?
Trump is either unnecessarily taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug which can cause hallucinations and heart failure, o… https://t.co/UgdX5v4A22— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1589839154.0
Either Donald Trump is lying, contracted malaria, or a doctor should be fired for prescribing a 73-year old man hyd… https://t.co/Q5AfsCqBpO— Brandon Wolf (@Brandon Wolf)1589838012.0
On Trump's claim he's taking hydroxychloroquine: 1. He's lying. 2. He's been given a placebo and doesn't know it. o… https://t.co/NyBGZuOBTq— Peter Gleick (@Peter Gleick)1589835727.0
What is going on?