News & Politics

Dem Lawmaker in Detroit Says Hydroxychloroquine and Trump Helped Save Her Life

President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

State Rep. Karen Whitsett, a Detroit Democrat, tested positive for the coronavirus last month. Now, she’s crediting hydroxychloroquine and Donald Trump with saving her life.

President Trump has been touting hydroxychloroquine as a potential game-changer since mid-March after small studies showed it potentially served as an effective treatment for coronavirus patients. “I feel good about it. Just a feeling. I am a smart guy, we’ll see soon enough and we have certainly big samples of people,” Trump said at the time. The media was quick to pounce on Dr. Anthony Fauci’s reluctance to fully endorse the drug because there had not been a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus yet. Hydroxychloroquine has long been approved by the FDA as an antimalarial drug.

Whitsett was prescribed hydroxychloroquine, and she said she felt relief from her symptoms in less than two hours. She had experienced shortness of breath, swollen lymph nodes, and what felt like a sinus infection.

Whitsett had been aware of  “the wonders” of hydroxychloroquine after a previous Lyme disease affliction, but, the Detroit Free Press reports, “does not believe she would have thought to ask for it, or her doctor would have prescribed it, had Trump not been touting it as a possible treatment for COVID-19.” Whitsett says she’s been taking the drug in combination with antibiotics.

“It has a lot to do with the president … bringing it up,” Whitsett said. “He is the only person who has the power to make it a priority.”

When asked by the Detroit Free Press whether she thinks Trump may have saved her life, she replied. “Yes, I do,” and “I do thank him for that.”

President Trump responded to the story on Monday, “Congratulations to State Representative Karen Whitsett of Michigan. So glad you are getting better!”

The media has desperately tried to undercut Trump’s positive message about hydroxychloroquine’s potential as a treatment for the coronavirus, calling it “unproven” and claiming there’s “no proof” that it works. The New York Times even alleged that Trump’s motivation for touting the drug was self-serving because he holds “a small personal financial interest” in Sanofi, the company that makes a brand name version of hydroxychloroquine, even though the drug’s patent is expired and any pharmaceutical company can manufacture their own generic versions of it. Even New York governor Andrew Cuomo conceded that “There has been anecdotal evidence that it is promising.”

_____

Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis