Donald Trump Says Study Of Veterans Taking Malaria Drug Was “Enemy Statement” — They Were “Very Old, Almost Dead”

Donald Trump continues to defend his promotion of, and claimed use of, the drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment or preventative for COVID-19. On Tuesday, he reiterated previous theories that a study done through the Veteran’s Administration, testing the use of the drug, usually used for malaria and lupus, on coronavirus patients, was actually an attack on him.

donald trump says the va is his enemy
[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

On Monday, Trump told a group of restaurant executives in a round table that he is taking hydroxychloroquine. When asked whether there was evidence for the drug being effective in prevention of infection, he responded that his evidence is “a lot of positive calls,” and said the “only negative” was the VA study. Without directly accusing the VA of rigging the results, Trump suggested the study was done by people who are “not fans” of him.

The only negative I’ve heard was the study where they gave it — was it the VA? With, you know, people that aren’t big Trump fans gave it…

On Tuesday Trump doubled down on this, saying that the trials with negative results were done as an “enemy statement.”

After a GOP luncheon, Trump took a question from a reporter. The reporter was asking, “Why is it okay for you to promote the use of this drug when you’re not a doctor and health experts are–” when Trump cut him off to reply.

Well I’ve worked with doctors, and if you look at the one survey, the only bad survey, they were giving it to people that were in very bad shape. They were very old, almost dead, and it was a Trump enemy statement.

Physician’s Weekly reported on this study last month, noting that not only did the drug not show improvement in outcomes for patients, but actually appeared to increase mortality. The study divided 368 patients into three groups, giving one group no hydroxychloroquine protocol, another group the drug alone, and the third group hydroxychloroquine combined with azithromycin. Deaths in the groups treated with the drugs were more than twice the rate of those without that treatment.

Military Times reported this week that two new large studies from New York, as well as newly published studies from both France and China, do not show the drug to be effective in treatment of COVID-19. However, the VA released a statement saying that it would not discourage doctors from treating their patients with the protocol if they find it appropriate.

In both Monday’s round table discussion and Tuesday’s statement, Trump maintained that only a single study had shown negative results, and that it was by people who were politically motivated against him. He has not, at this time, addressed the other large studies that don’t support hydroxychloroquine protocols as treatment for coronavirus.

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