Critics insisted that this was irresponsible. My colleague James Hamblin, a medical doctor, published an April 6 article on what is known about the drug, echoing some widely held objections to the way Trump talked about it. In Hamblin’s estimation, “hydroxychloroquine could end up as part of the treatment approach that one day saves lives,” but “outside of a proper testing process and clear messaging, it could cost lives.”
While some very early evidence has shown that hydroxychloroquine may influence the course of COVID-19, Trump is overriding his top medical adviser and minimizing serious risks by encouraging Americans to try the drug right now. This brazen dispensation of medical advice from the president is dangerous in ways beyond the potential harm of the drug itself. A time of strict directives for personal behavior and hygiene requires tremendous trust in those giving the directives—and understanding the reality that this is a disease without a miracle cure. But instead of inspiring trust, Trump has pivoted from downplaying the number of cases in the United States to the extremely effective trick of quack medical providers: hyping an unproven treatment that entices desperate people with false confidence and confusing messaging.
I thought Hamblin raised good points. But journalists belong to a faction that would prefer to see Trump fail “even if the failure brings the nation to its knees,” Libby Emmons claims at The Post Millennial. “This rhetorical battle over hydroxychloroquine is not about drug efficacy, but about ongoing Trump Derangement Syndrome that has plagued so many in our mainstream media.”
In Townhall, Wayne Allyn Root asserted that the way rank-and-file Democrats writ large have responded to Trump’s statements on hydroxychloroquine is “suicidal,” while the reaction of at least two governors is “reckless, dangerous, ignorant and delusional.” Why would they respond that way? TDS is the only answer, he declared, adding that “Democrats would rather let Americans die than give Trump a chance to take credit. Some might call that murder, or, certainly, manslaughter.”
At The Hill, Liz Peek shared the judgment that “all” Democrats suffer from TDS. “It’s almost as though Trump’s critics don’t want hydroxychloroquine to work,” she wrote. “It is almost as though they hope this pandemic rolls endlessly forward, depressing the economy and undermining President Trump’s chances of being reelected.”
Representative Ted Budd, a North Carolina Repubican, published an op-ed titled “Trump Derangement Syndrome Becomes a Threat to Public Health,” which cited skepticism of hydroxychloroquine as a prime example.
“Has Trump derangement syndrome killed more people than COVID-19?” a blogger asked, adding, “Many hospitals are denying [hydroxychloroquine] and instead maintaining the standard protocol for acute respiratory distress syndrome, which seems to be a death sentence for COVID patients.”