President Trump sparked shock and condemnation on social media Sunday night after he blocked the nation’s top infectious disease expert from answering a reporter’s question about the efficacy of an anti-malaria drug the president has repeatedly touted as a possible cure for COVID-19.
During Sunday’s briefing, Trump repeated his endorsement of the use of hydroxychloroquine – a drug often associated with malaria treatment – to be used against the Coronavirus.
“What really do we have to lose?” Trump asked reporters at one point, encouraging people to use the drug, even though it has not been specifically found to stop the virus.
Trump’s promotion of hydroxychloriquine has drawn concerns from Dr. Anthony Fauci – who has noted the lack of broader trials – but Trump has pressed forward with the idea, bolstered by support among GOP lawmakers and conservative media.
On Sunday, when one reporter tried to ask Fauci his opinion, the President stepped in and did not let Fauci answer.
"I answered this 15 times. You don't have to answer." — Trump prevents Dr Fauci from answering a question about hydroxychloroquine pic.twitter.com/8R1K1hDsaX
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 6, 2020
Trump’s silencing of the nation’s top infectious disease expert drew shocked reactions on social media.
Fauci is asked about hydroxchloroquine, but Trump interjects: “We’ve answered the question 15 times.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 6, 2020
Wow! That was pretty amazing to watch Trump leap in to prevent Dr. Fauci from responding to a question about the wacky malaria medicine plan.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) April 6, 2020
This is a really chilling moment from a science standpoint, with Trump having just pushed an unproven #covid treatment and Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the US, getting muzzled on live TV. Was clear Trump didn’t want to be contradicted. https://t.co/yA4r25nhWP
— Andrew Freedman (@afreedma) April 6, 2020
This was a really jarring moment, especially since everyone else in the administration has gone to lengths to insist the president is listening to the medical professionals and to demonstrate that no one is trying to tamp down Fauci. https://t.co/nKe49IAFhO
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 6, 2020
This was a key moment.@JDiamond1 asked the lead scientist on the WH coronavirus task force, Dr. Fauci, to weigh in on the president repeatedly telling people to take hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus & Trump lashed out at Jeremy & said Dr. Fauci doesn't have to answer that Q. https://t.co/Q9smR8OGfn
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) April 6, 2020
Donald Trump just refused to let Dr. Fauci answer a question about hydroxychloroquine. That's the circle of hell we're in now.
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) April 6, 2020
BREAKING: Trump just ended the press conference before Dr Fauci could answer a question about the unproven drug Trump’s pushing. It was clear Dr. Fauci was going to disagree with Trump again. Another tantrum from the toddler.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) April 6, 2020
Trump didn’t let Fauci, who has argued against embrace of experimental drugs internally, answer question at the podium tonight about them. GIULIANI and others have been lobbying president on them and telling POTUS that Fauci is too academic & shortsighted. https://t.co/UzpTuSusLf
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) April 6, 2020