White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany chastised the media for criticizing President Donald Trump for hydroxychloroquine while CNN host Chris Cuomo took a "less safe" drug to handle his coronavirus infection. From Wednesday's White House press briefing:
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: And let me just get your reaction to something we just got moments ago, a statement from the American Nurses Association, which says, quote, “The American Nurses Association has not received reports from nurses or other frontline healthcare workers utilizing hydroxychloroquine as a preventative treatment for COVID-19.”
Why does the President continue to say that many or thousands of frontline workers are using it as a prophylactic?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, there is — Henry Ford Hospital is doing a study on this now where 3,000 frontline workers will be taking hydroxychloroquine to look at its use as a prophylactic. I believe there is a few hundred or 190 workers in Tampa General Hospital. So this is being used by some.
And one thing I want to note with regard to hydroxychloroquine, because I think it’s very important that we’re as accurate as we can be with our reporting on this: Hydroxychloroquine has been a drug that has been in use for 65 years for lupus, arthritis, and malaria. It has a very good safety profile.
But as with any drug and as with any prescription, it should be given by a doctor to a patient in that context. So no one should be taking this without a prescription from their doctor.
But that being said, I’ve seen a lot of apoplectic coverage of hydroxychloroquine. You had Jimmy Kimmel saying the President is, quote, “trying to kill himself by taking it.” You had Joe Scarborough saying, quote, “This will kill you.” Neil Cavuto saying, “What have you got to lose? One thing you have to lose are lives.” And you had Chris Cuomo saying, “The President knows that hydroxychloroquine is not supported by science. He knows it has been flagged by his own people and he’s using it.”
Well, Cuomo mocked the President for this. And interestingly, I found this out just before coming here: Hydroxychloroquine, of course, is an FDA-approved medication with a long-proven track record for safety. And it turns out that Chris Cuomo took a less safe version of it called quinine, which the FDA removed from the market in 2006 because of its serious side effects, including death. So, really interesting to have that criticism of the President.
And on that note to Chris Cuomo, I’d like to redirect him to his brother, the Governor of New York, Governor Cuomo, who has several on-the-record statements about hydroxychloroquine, saying, “I’m an optimist. I’m hopeful about the drug, and that’s why we’ll try it here in New York as soon as we get it. There has been anecdotal evidence that it’s promising. That’s why we’re going ahead.” And I have about eight other quotes from Governor Cuomo should any of you have interest in that.