White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has quickly made an impact in her press briefings with her preparedness and quick wit.
On Wednesday, she turned an NBC News reporter’s attack on President Donald Trump back around — and pointed out that the media had no questions for CNN’s Chris Cuomo when he did the same thing.
And she has research doctors to back her up.
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NBC News reporter Kristen Welker questioned McEnany over the president’s decision to take the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, an experimental drug preventative for coronavirus. Anecdotal evidence has shown that hydroxychloroquine, when taken with zinc and under a doctor’s supervision, may help minimize the contraction of COVID-19.
Tests remain ongoing over whether or not the drug is effective, but the FDA has loosened restrictions on the medication based on the anecdotal evidence. Trump said his doctor recommended he start taking the drug — and the mainstream media pounced.
McEnany was ready for the question, and quickly turned the veiled shot at the president back around on the mainstream media. Specifically, she pointed out CNN’s Chris Cuomo’s hypocrisy.
Cuomo was one of the mainstream media personalities to mock the president’s decision to take the drug. Monday, he said on his show that “the president knows that hydroxychloroquine is not supported by science. He knows it has been flagged by people in his own administration.”
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Cuomo said the president’s announcement on hydroxychloroquine was only to distract from “his lack of a plan or real solutions.”
However, it turns out Cuomo himself took a more dangerous version of hydroxychloroquine that’s banned by the FDA when he was diagnosed with COVD-19.
“You had Chris Cuomo saying ‘the president knows that hydroxychloroquine is not supported by science. He knows it has been flagged by his own people and he’s using it.’ Well, Cuomo mocked the president for this,” McEnany said.
“Hydroxychloroquine, of course, is an FDA-approved medication with a long proven track record for safety,” McEnany continued. “It turns out that Chris Cuomo took a less safe version of it called quinine — which the FDA removed from the market in 2006 for its serious side-effects, including death.”
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“So, really interesting to have that criticism of the president,” she said.
McEnany pointed out that Chris Cuomo’s own brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also endorsed hydroxychloroquine for its potential numerous times.
“On that note to Chris Cuomo, I’d like to redirect him to his brother, the governor of New York,” she said. “Gov. Cuomo, who has several on-the-record statements about hydroxychloroquine, saying ‘I’m an optimist, I’m hopeful about the drug, and that’s why we will try it in New York as soon as we get it. There has been anecdotal evidence that it’s promising, that’s why we’re going ahead.'”
“I have about 8 other quotes from Gov. Cuomo, should any of you have interest in that,” McEnany said.
Doctors have complained that the political attacks on the use of hydroxychloroquine have seriously hampered their research efforts.
Dr. Jon Giles, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, said the politicization of the anti-malarial drug’s effects by the media has limited his abilities to research the actual effectiveness in fighting coronavirus.
“We were getting calls all the time from people who were interested” in being a part of clinical trials, Dr. Giles told NPR recently.
“It’s not unreasonable to think that a short course of this drug might have some protective ability,” he said about his failed clinical trial.
That changed when the mainstream media attacked the drug.
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Patients that initially signed up later backed out after media backlash against Trump.
Giles and other researchers said he could no longer get neutral patients to participate in the clinical trials.
“Pretty much everybody said, ‘Well that’s the drug that’s dangerous to your heart, or, I talked to my friends and they said don’t take it, or that I saw on TV it’s dangerous,'” Giles said.
Even in a carefully run clinical trial, the media backlash made his test unworkable and he was forced to give up his study.
“It became almost impossible to get anyone interested,” says Giles.
Dr. William O’Neill, a cardiologist at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, said the mainstream media attacks on Trump almost ended his clinical trials on hydroxychloroquine, too.
“It really caused a huge problem for us,” O’Neill said about the media backlash. “It set us back probably a month.”
“It has made people absolutely committed to proving him wrong. The problem with that is this is not politics, this is life and death,” he reportedly said. “We’re talking about a treatment — who would be rooting for us not to find a therapy, for God’s sakes?”
You can see McEnany take on Cuomo and the mainstream media below —
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) May 20, 2020
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