President Donald Trump met Tuesday with a Michigan Democrat who was treated for coronavirus with hydroxychloroquine, and before the press event was over, he offered her a visit with the White House physician.
“Is it legal for me to allow her to use the White House doctor?” Trump asked after state Rep. Karen Whitsett (D) said she no longer has a physician. “You know what, if it’s not, I’ll suffer the repercussions. I don’t care.”
Whitsett, who suffers from Lyme disease, took hydroxychloroquine to treat her diagnosis with the novel coronavirus — an anti-malarial drug that didn’t gain widespread attention until after Trump touted it as a possible therapeutic treatment for COVID-19. She credits Trump and the drug for saving her life.
Earlier this month, during an interview with The Detroit Press, Whitsett said she began feeling better “less than two hours” after taking hydroxychloroquine. Without Trump touting the drug, Whitsett further explained, she might not have even known to consider it.
“Thank you for everything that you have done. I did not know that saying ‘thank you’ had a political line,” the state politician said. “I thought just saying ‘thank you’ meant, thank you.”
Though hydroxychloroquine is being used by some doctors to treat COVID-19 — South Dakota, in fact, has recently undertaken a clinical trial of the drug — the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved any medicinal treatment for the coronavirus.
According to Fox Business, the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi has cautioned that hydroxychloroquine carries with it “several serious known side effects” and indicated further testing needs to be done to determine the drug’s efficacy in treating the virus.
The Trump administration did, however, announce Monday it is working to “ensure that adequate supply of these drug products is available for patients.”