Joe Scarborough: 'Let Me Assure You'—Trump Not Taking Hydroxychloroquine

May 19th, 2020 9:06 AM

Yesterday, we noted MSNBC's John Heilemann saying there was a "high probability" that President Trump is not taking hydroxychloroquine. Joe Scarborough took things a huge step further on today's Morning Joe, flatly asserting that the president is lying.

Scarborough claimed that President Trump announced he was taking the drug in order to distract Americans from, among other things, the virus death toll that has now exceeded 90,000. Notice how they always slam conservatives for "conspiracy theories," but they're always unspooling Trump conspiracy theories themselves.

Scarborough offered no real evidence in support of his unqualified assertion.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Often, the president will say things to distract and, obviously, we’re passing a 90,000 threshold of dead Americans . . . This certainly was thrown out as a distraction, because the president always wants to distract from his failures.... 

But when the President of the United States actually says he's doing something which, let me assure you, he is not doing — let me assure you the President of the United States is not taking hydroxychloroquine. 

In all the time that I knew him, I only sat for one meal with him. And before that meal, he had wipes like this high and would just go through the wipes, compulsively, and wipe his hands, sanitize his hands, before eating anything. So he's not taking something that his own administration has said will kill you. That his own FDA said will kill you. That the VA said will kill you. 

That is a gross misrepresentation. Scarborough makes it sound as if hydroxychloroquine is literally a poison pill.  But as President Trump said, hydroxychloroquine has been around for decades, and has been used to treat millions of people for a number of diseases including malaria and lupus. Can there be side effects, including potentially fatal ones? Yes. But as anyone who watches TV commercials knows, there are potentially negative side effects for a wide variety of drugs -- but only for a tiny fraction of people using them.

For Scarborough to say hydroxychloroquine "will" kill you is a blatant distortion, used to bolster Joe's unproven claim that President Trump is not taking the drug.  

Scarborough's claim also flies in the face of a statement put out by the White House physician, who confirmed that the president indeed began taking hydroxychloroquine after he and Trump concluded: "the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks."

PS: MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace and John Heilemann hit the same notes on Monday's Deadline White House:

NICOLLE WALLACE: I don't know to start with this one, John Heilemann.   First of all, I mean, do we know, I’m not sure that means if he’s taking it, right? He's telling us he's taking it. He told the world to take it. He told the world, what do you have to lose? Neil Cavuto over on on Fox News, my neighbor at the same hour, said to a medical guest he had, what you have to lose is your life. I’m not sure that we can take it to the bank that he's actually been taking this drug because he's said he's been taking it. He’s told 18,000 lies and counting. But I guess the bigger question is: why did he say that at all?

JOHN HEILEMANN: Well, Nicolle, I think there’s, first of all, I think there's a high probability, not just because of the fact that the president's a pathological liar, but because of the fact he is not a complete idiot, in the sense that he’s heard what has been determined now about the dangers of taking this drug. I think there’s a high probability that he’s not taking the drug. And I think you would need to have some real evidence to suggest that this is not just another tall tale of his.