Monday, April 06, 2020


They're obsessed.
President Donald Trump spent much of his time at the coronavirus news briefing on Sunday once again promoting unproven drugs to treat COVID-19. “And another thing we have bought a tremendous amount of is hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said. “We have stockpiled 29 million pills of the hydroxychloroquine. 29 million. A lot of drugstores have them, by prescription. And they’re not expensive.”

... Although Trump has been pushing hydroxychloroquine for a while, he seems to have taken those recommendations further this weekend. On Saturday, Trump had pretty much called on sick patients to take the drug. “What do you have to lose? Take it,” the president said. “I really think they should take it. But it’s their choice. And it’s their doctor’s choice or the doctors in the hospital. But hydroxychloroquine. Try it, if you’d like.”
They're monomaniacal.
In one-on-one phone calls with Trump, [Rudy] Giuliani said, he has been touting the use of an anti-malarial drug combination that has shown some early promise in treating covid-19, the disease the novel coronavirus causes, but whose effectiveness has not yet been proved. He said he now spends his days on the phone with doctors, coronavirus patients and hospital executives promoting the treatment, which Trump has also publicly lauded.

They're even getting into fights over this.
The White House coronavirus task force had its biggest fight yet on Saturday, pitting economic adviser Peter Navarro against infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci. At issue: How enthusiastically should the White House tout the prospects of an antimalarial drug to fight COVID-19?

... Fauci pushed back against Navarro, saying that there was only anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine works against the coronavirus.

... Fauci's mention of anecdotal evidence "just set Peter off," said one of the sources.

... Navarro started raising his voice....
On Twitter, every mention of the Trumpers' hydroxychloroquine advocacy is met with the same response: They must be making money off it. They must have investments in a company that makes it.

It's true that Trump has been trying to make money off the presidency -- though he hasn't done it in a focused way. As I often say, if he's a kleptocrat, he's not very good at it. He's no Vladimir Putin, who profits from much of the business in Russia, and may be the world's richest man as a result. Trump gets revenue from those who stay at his properties in order to curry his favor, and from government staffers who have to accompany him when he travels to those properties, but the damage Trump's presidency has done to the reputation of his brand has largely offset those gains. The presidency hasn't been very profitable for him.

Trump didn't seek the presidency because he had a focused plan to cash in. I know it's argued that he ran solely because he believed it would be good publicity for his brand and he had no intention of winning, but he's been talking about running for president for decades -- on some level, he wanted the job. He wanted the world to defer to him. He wanted to be the big boss. It's ego.

Giuliani has an ego, too. Most Americans paid attention to him only after 9/11, but those of us who lived through his eight years as mayor know that he spent nearly every day arguing with people, insisting that he was right about everything and they were idiots.

I don't know what Navarro's motives are, but underlings often live on reflected glory. And let's not forget lib-owning. For conservatives, the desire to own the libs sometimes seems stronger than the drives for food, sex, or oxygen. Liberals have been criticizing Trump's handling of the virus crisis. They want to deflect our criticisms with promises of a miracle cure.

As I was writing this, the president just posted this tweet:

I have no idea what Trotter was talking about -- but it doesn't matter, does it? This is what Trump craves: being told he's right and -- perhaps more important -- being told that his enemies are wrong. That was Giuliani's prime motivation throughout his mayoralty. I think this (along with Trump's huckster impulse to try to make the customer feel happy) might be sufficient to explain the hydroxychloroquine obsession.

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