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President Donald Trump was already having a bad day on Tuesday, but his unhinged press conference at the White House, in which he once again defended hydroxychloroquine as a remedy for coronavirus and complained that “nobody likes me,” just made it worse.
On Monday, Trump retweeted a video saying that a long-debunked drug was effective in treating coronavirus, even though his own FDA cautioned against its usage earlier this month. The video, which was removed from various social media networks for spreading disinformation—but Trump doubled down on its claims in his Tuesday press conference.
“The recommendations of many other people, including doctors, many doctors think it is extremely successful, the hydroxychloroquine coupled with the zinc and perhaps the Zithromycin,” Trump said. “But many doctors think it’s extremely good, and some people don’t.”
“I think it’s become very political,” he added. (Studies have shown the drug has no benefit to treat those hospitalized with COVID-19.)
Attention then turned, as it often does, to Trump’s relationship with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, two of the top public health experts he’s leaned on during the pandemic.
On Monday, Trump retweeted multiple messages that were critical of Fauci, including an interview on Steve Bannon’s podcast between Bannon and a doctor who said Fauci “misled the American public on many issues” and criticized Fauci’s “dismissal of hydroxychloroquine.”
Trump was questioned about the retweets on Tuesday and replied, “I have a very good relationship with Dr. Fauci. He’s got a very good approval rating, and I like that. It’s good. Because remember, he’s working for this administration. He’s working with us, John. We could have gotten other people. We could have gotten somebody else. It didn’t have to be Dr. Fauci. He’s working with our administration.”
“A man works for us — with us, very closely, Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Birx also highly thought of,” Trump added. “And yet, they’re highly thought of, but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality.”
Trump ended the press conference by defending one particular doctor in the video he retweeted, Dr. Stella Immanuel. Immanuel has claimed that illnesses such as fibroid tumors and cysts are caused by demon sperm.
“There was a woman who was spectacular in her statements about it, that she’s had tremendous success with it, and they took her voice,” Trump lamented.
When informed that the same doctor believes doctors make medicine from DNA, Trump said: “I thought she was very impressive...I don’t know which country she comes from, but she said that she’s had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients. And I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her.”
As CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins pressed him on Immanuel’s claim that masks don’t work (“I know you people want to talk about a mask. Hello? You don’t need a mask,” she says in the video), Trump abruptly ended the press conference after just 27 minutes.
“Okay. Thank you very much, everybody,” Trump said. “Thank you.”
Cover: President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House, Tuesday, July 28, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)