On Monday, in an off-the-cuff comment following a White House meeting with restaurant industry leaders, President Donald Trump revealed that he has been taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for “about a week and a half now” to protect himself from COVID-19.

Asked why, the president said he has heard from a number of people, including a doctor from Westchester, N.Y., that it is a good preventative. He said he had checked with the White House physician who said he does not object to his taking the drug.

Asked what evidence he has that the drug is effective, the president responded: “Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it.”

The Food and Drug Administration, according to the Washington Times, has warned against using hydroxychloroquine “outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems.” The National Institutes of Health has also advised that doctors use caution when prescribing it.

On Fox News, host Neil Cavuto interviewed Dr. Bob Lahita, chairman of medicine at St. Joseph University Hospital in Paterson, N.J. Dr. Lahita said he has seen “no effect whatsoever” when hydroxychloroquine is used to treat the coronavirus. In fact, said Dr. Lahita, if taken in combination with certain other drugs, it could cause arteries to expand, which could be fatal.

Instead of taking and promoting this unproven and possibly dangerous drug, the president should have been touting a new vaccine produced by the American company Moderna. The New York Times reports the company tested eight healthy volunteers and discovered the experimental vaccine was “safe and provoked a strong immune response.” The results have put the vaccine, known as mRNA, on an accelerated timetable so that larger human trials can begin.

It is always dangerous, especially when it comes to medications, to believe anecdotal information. The president said the unnamed doctor wrote him in praise of hydroxychloroquine. He also said thousands of front-line health workers are taking the drug as a prophylaxis.

While I don’t doubt the president’s sincerity, he has no medical training and never even played a doctor on TV. It is dangerous to promote drugs one knows little about and it is even more dangerous to take them at his age and at what appears to be his increasing weight.

Throughout history there have been snake oil salesmen. The term dates back to the mid-1800s and is linked to Chinese indentured laborers who were brought to America to work on the Transcontinental Railroad, bringing their medications with them. These laborers literally rubbed snake oil on their sore joints, relieving their pain but also attracted the attention of Americans. A National Public Radio story broadcast in 2013 asked: “So how did a legitimate medicine become a symbol of fraud?

The origins of snake oil as a derogatory phrase trace back to the latter half of the 19th century, which saw a dramatic rise in the popularity of ‘patent medicines’.

Often sold on the back pages of newspapers, these tonics promised to cure a variety of ailments, including chronic pain, headaches, ‘female complaints’ and kidney trouble. In time, all of these false ‘cures’ began to be referred to as snake oil.” I’ve seen these ads in old newspaper clippings. One was placed by a traveling “doctor,” who claimed he could diagnose female ailments while women remained fully clothed.

The cure was a bottle he sold, the contents of which he likely mixed up himself. TV evangelist Jim Bakker is being sued by the Missouri attorney general for promoting a cure for coronavirus. Bakker calls it “Silver Solution.” The lawsuit seeks to stop Bakker and his company from advertising the product, which he has been selling for $80 per four-ounce bottle.

While President Trump doesn’t exactly fit the profile of a snake oil salesman, he should stick to sound medical science and start placing his bets on mRNA and other vaccines that show promise.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

Copyright 2020 Tribune Content Agency.

(66) comments

DickD

We should not discourage Trump from his "snake oil", it is more likely to work the way we think than the way Trump is touting. Leave him alone, very alone. Verrrrrrry aaaaloooone.

Greg F

Trump could be given tic-tacs and believe it’s a miracle cure if a buddy said it worked.

threecents

If the FNP was anti-Trump, then it would be covering his new complaint that Fox News is not doing enough to help Republican candidates. For the Fox fans, that ruins their illusion that Fox is objective. It's kinda like a WWE superstar complaining their wrasslin isn't fake enough.

jsklinelga

Comments are typical but one caught my eye:" It's a reasonable point that objective news is slanted against Trump." Many in the FNP accuse President Trump of being ignorant. Is he really? What American institution has the worst public trust rating concerning the Coronavirus. The news media. Perhaps the adage : the enemy of my enemy is my friend has some merit and President Trump is not as ignorant as some suppose. What truly seems to lack understanding is the term 'objective media." What percentage of the people think the media is objective?

public-redux

Comment is typical.

phydeaux994

About 65% at this time jsk. I think that number will continue to grow. I think the media are pretty much going with Fauci & CO and the science. Unless you could provide evidence to the contrary. Ha Ha fat chance of that!!?? Peace. ✌️

jsklinelga

phydeaux994

Not sure where you got 65%. Just type in public trust in the media and view the various links. But I agree with Gabe that we are tiring of the sideshow. It would be helpful to know real answers but I am not sure they exists. Such as the CDC issuing new guidelines about surfaces. I have not wiped surfaces down for weeks after listening to a prominent physician but I do not fault the CDC for running clinical trials. Just as I do not fault the hydroxychloroquine trials.

" Snake oil cures " is a sideshow. Can you definitely say that the drug does not help, under supervision? Can you produce the exact quote from President Trump that he said to ingest disinfectant.

Stunts like not wearing the mask are annoying but is there a purpose behind them? We know that the typical cloth face covering worn by most people have openings 1000 times greater than the virus particles.

I truly wish November was here but then we would miss the summer and I my personal surefire virus prevention": Sun, salt water, fresh fish for the diet and ingesting my homemade, distilled internal sanitizer.

Hayduke2

"Can you definitely say that the drug does not help, under supervision? Can you produce the exact quote from President Trump that he said to ingest disinfectant." Watch the video. If you deny his sincerity, you are not being objective.

jsklinelga

hayduke

Your answer is a perfect example of why Trump will be re-elected. Presently people are weary of everything. But when they vote they will consider the truth as best they can. Here is the fact check analysis from Politifact:

:The briefing transcript shows that Trump did not say people should inject themselves with bleach or alcohol to treat the coronavirus. He was asking officials on the White House coronavirus task force whether they could be used in potential cures.

O

DickD

Here you go Jim, from the New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/24/us/politics/trump-inject-disinfectant-bleach-coronavirus.html

"The frantic reaction was prompted by President Trump’s suggestion on Thursday at a White House briefing that an “injection inside” the human body with a disinfectant like bleach or isopropyl alcohol could help combat the virus.“And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute,” Mr. Trump said after a presentation from William N. Bryan, an acting under secretary for science at the Department of Homeland Security, detailed the virus’s possible susceptibility to bleach and alcohol."

Greg F

Yes...it is difinitive it doesn’t work. Studies are out and recent. Visit CDC or NIH or any science based web site or just google it. And trump is also difinitively stupid...beyond stupid.

Greg F

Yep...another media basher, yet here you are.

DickD

Jim

Trump can't be dumb and get away with all of the crimes he has committed.

DeplorableLocalVeteran

Viagra is now being touted by the WH as a possible treatment for Covid19

threecents

"Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it.”

caspiansails

And other doctors are promoting the drug mix for their patients with great success. The drug and the combination the President is taking is being used across the world with little to no adverse reactions. It is overblown. Many, many physicians and health professionals in the US are using the combination in the very same manner. It could be the FDA and/or the CDC is afraid of a supply problem and like masks they had an early statement that masks are ineffective so people did not panic over not being able to buy a N95 masks. That was a lie as is the lie that homemade masks are effective whatsoever. The typical homemade mask, per the details on the CDC site results in openings, in the material itself that is 1000x the size of what is required to block the virus with its associated droplets size.

phydeaux994

Hydroxychloroquine has not been approved by the FDA for treatment of COVID-19 and it would be illegal for Doctors to prescribe it for that purpose except in controlled testing overseen by direct Physician control. Who prescribes it for Trump?? Or gives it to him?? It’s illegal....!!

gabrielshorn2013

No phy, it is not. It is called "off-label prescribing", and happens frequently, especially if there is no product approved for a specific indication, such as COVID-19. Read the FDA information below.

https://www.fda.gov/patients/learn-about-expanded-access-and-other-treatment-options/understanding-unapproved-use-approved-drugs-label

phydeaux994

I stand corrected gab. Thanks.

gabrielshorn2013

[thumbup]

threecents

I doubt Trump ever took it; he is such a habitual liar.

public-tertiary

I’m willing to believe he takes it. The lie is that he gets a lot of positive calls about it. It is his “a lotta people are saying...” lie

DickD

Maybe we should get him to take it while we watch and verify what it is that he is taking.

Obadiah Plainsmen

I don't get all the brouhaha about President Trump taking hydroxychloroquine. He is an adult and and can take what ever he wants to. Now if he gets sick, incapacitate or dies from it our constitution has a provision for replacing him. The country won't even skip a beat and life will go on. People will complain about anything.

Hayduke2

Or justify anything

DickD

One time you are totally right, OP. Let Trump take all of that hydroxychloroquine. But that would leave us with the lap dog Pence.

veritas

The presidential physician probably prescribed hydroxychloroquine for Trump to keep him from pounding down shots of Lysol.

public-tertiary

Yup. The evil of two lessors.

phydeaux994

Jimmy Kimmel got it just right. “Our President is a HYDROXYMORON”.

Greg F

President Covidiot

Dwasserba

"TV evangelist Jim Bakker is being sued by the Missouri attorney general for promoting a cure for coronavirus. Bakker calls it 'Silver Solution.”' This guy!! I thought that after he served his time he was banned from engaging in televangelism again, and I was shocked to see him with hisdaughter and his new wife by his side, again in TV ministry SELLING stuff. So many, lots of them older people, bought into his ponzi Heritage USA timeshare scheme and lost serious money. He had an earnest boyish appeal that had oldsters flocking to him like flies to honey. Shyster!!!

public-tertiary

“... banned from engaging in televangelism again,...”

Nope. Freedom of religion. The ACLU would have been all over any attempt by government to restrict his liberties.

awteam2000

“ While President Trump doesn’t exactly fit the profile of a snake oil salesman”. Really? Or is he just stupid. Trump not only doesn’t listen to the scientists and doctors but he even recommended researching disinfectants and UV lights up your ... as a prophylactic. Kid’s out there, and you Trump followers, Mr. Yuk says,”NO!” “Don’t listen to the “snake oil salesman” 👨‍💼the ‘TRUMP’, he’s bad. His recommendations could be fatal.🤮

sevenstones1000

“While President Trump doesn’t exactly fit the profile of a snake oil salesman,”. Wrong. He exactly fits the profile of a snake oil salesman.

threecents

Exactly my response. [thumbup]Seven

Dwasserba

I feel it is too flattering. What he'd sell is probably fake snake oil.

DickD

Even a snake should be smart enough to see through Trump!

Piedmontgardener

Cal's so wrong on that, it's not even funny. Example No.1 why seniors are the targets of con men/women.

Greg F

Second that...he is a snake oil salesman. TrumpU is just one example of his conman pitches.

threecents

Greg, What gets me is that Trump is such an obvious fraud to us and half the country, but so many others disagree with us. TrumpU is one of so many things that should be enough to disqualify Trump as a presidential candidate, but there he is: our president and up for election again. It still boggles the mind.

DickD

If you listed all the reasons Trump should not be our POTUS, you will be exhausted. Yet, you have people like JSK and DES supporting him. Jim claims to be very religious, Dave claims he wants to be a minister. Now how can anyone be that way and support Trump? Boggles the mind, YES!

Greg F

Pu..y-grabbing should have been a hint at what we were in for.

DeplorableLocalVeteran

Younger people with lupus on hydroxychloroquine for years are dying from Covid-19

Greg F

Underlying condition....it's not the drug, it's the underlying condition that killed them. Nice try...nope.

awteam2000

So why would they test positive for COVID-19? If you have a weak heart and I push you down the steps. What killed you? Your underlying condition, or me pushing you down the steps?

jsklinelga

"“Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it.” Interesting. Calls from who? Mr. Thomas opposes the President for allegedly misrepresenting the value of the drug But were the calls from Doctors or patients that used the drug? Could be.

But what I like most about this column is that a conservative is criticizing the President. Believe it or not people use to cross the aisle. That is how we keep a society honest and informed.

Juxtapose, in another article in today's paper we see just the opposite. A typical AP hit job on Doctors supporting re-opening. The article from the headline on attacks the Doctors motivation as some campaign conspiracy. To bad they do not consider the valid points. There is great concern that because of the lock down many critical medical procedures, tests and lab analysis have been delayed. Possibly causing needless sickness and death That is a valid concern.

I applaud Mr. Thomas for his objectivity, right or wrong.

Hayduke2

Wow jsk, is there nothing you won't try to spin and blow smoke on. Next, let's hear the "fake news" or "lock her" or "build the wall" chant takeover. Must be tough to justify every single thing that doesn't fit your world view as a hit job.

threecents

To be fair, Trump and his people are so frequently caught being ignorant, unethical, and immoral, so objective news often does sound like anti-Trump hatchet jobs. It's a reasonable point that objective news is slanted against Trump.

Hayduke2

Agree three, but is it fake or just pointing out the unbelievable or misleading or unethical moves by the administration? It is a catch-22, ignore it and let it go forward or call it out and appear biased?

Dwasserba

Yeahhhh but they're just reporting what happens. Some prefer lipstick on a pig. Still a pig.

gabrielshorn2013

I agree with both of you three and hay. There are so many things to report, that it looks like the media are picking on him, when they are just reporting on the daily gaffes. But what is the remedy? Keep reporting as usual and stir up the base support who believe he is being picked on by the MSM? Or stop reporting , and allow the "stuff" to continue without comment, thereby giving tacit approval. The devil's choice.

awteam2000

It would help if Trump refrain from being “ignorant, unethical, and immoral” those aren’t gaffes.

threecents

Rather than becoming smarter and more ethical and moral, the Trump administration chose to combat their bad press by popularizing alternative facts and fake news, while claiming the other side was using them. They made a plan, followed through, and so many poor fools bought it. I give Trump credit for chutzpah.

jsklinelga

hayd,uke2

if you guys, including I suppose Gabe did not fall over backwards with glee you may have considered Cal Thomas was not exactly correct. Yes President Trump is taking the drug. As his Doctor says" Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, said he "concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks,"

And he is not the only one. There are numerous, large, professional test ongoing. Tests that are given to front line health care workers to determine if the drug helps prevent a CoVid infection, . And these tests are adding more participants. So if the President is doing likewise, under a physician's guidance, it hardly makes him a snake oil salesman..

But I was applauding Cal Thomas for offering an honest opinion. That is something you do not see from the folks who I believe who earned the "fake news" moniker.

public-tertiary

You might enjoy reading Max Boot, George Will, Jennifer Rubin, David Brooks, Michael Gerson, David Frum, Bill Kristol too. Heck, even me.

gabrielshorn2013

Not glee jsk. I'm just getting tired of the sideshow. Let the professionals do the jobs that they are highly qualified to do, and which they were hired to do.

Chevy

What is the big deal? If President Trump wants to take the drug with the consent of his doctor that is his right. That drug has been on the market for years and is used to treat other ailments. In some cases it has helped when combined with other drugs. You all just need to get a grip. As far as Jimmie Kimmel goes he is just a CELEBRITY MORON!!! He is no smarter then the rest of us!!!

phydeaux994

I don’t know Chevy, how much did you make last year?

threecents

I am tired of all the late night anti-Trump and anti-McConnell comedy. They are still ridiculous, but they aren't funny any more. Move on. Those comedy gold mine have been mined to death.

jagman

"You might enjoy reading Max Boot, George Will, Jennifer Rubin, David Brooks, Michael Gerson, David Frum, Bill Kristol too."

Ahh!. A list of the neocon bozos. The "nation builder" crowd. Purveyors of the endless wars. Bush-buddies all of them and Trump-haters extraordinaire.

We've moved on from them. That's why they now have to hawk their wares on discredited organs like cnn and msdnc.

DickD

Are you going to take the same "snake oil", Jim?

threecents

I see what you did there Jag - MSdnc[thumbup][thumbup]

public-tertiary

jag, Of course they oppose Trump. They are conservatives.

jagman

They are neocons, not real conservatives. Neocons are big government establishment republicans. Nearly as bad as big government lefties, they differ only in what they want big government to do to we the people.

And in the case of the nation building, endless war variety, the rest of the world.

They represent the globalist mentality of the Bush/Clinton/Obama cabal.

Exactly why Trump was elected. We are tired of America being sold down the river.

Apparently you have no problem with the USA being sold out.

DickD

Hay, Jim is kind of like Trump, he never learns.

jagman

You are describing yourself, dick. It is you living in a fairyland world.

I hear some Russians are moving in next door to you. Maybe you'll get lucky and they'll slip you some secret information that will "GIT TRUMP".

Welcome to the discussion.

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