Another hydroxychloroquine clown show from a mad doctor and a Trump-hating press
As if we hadn't had enough of Trump-opposing medics in Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx -- meet the latest mad doctor foisting himself on us to Get Trump: Dr. Rick Bright, who says he was ousted from his position at the Department of Health and Human Services, supposedly for political reasons, claiming he opposed the use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19, while President Trump favored it.
Here's Maggie Haberman and some other writer at the New York Times with a breathless lede:
WASHINGTON — The official who led the federal agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine said on Wednesday that he was removed from his post after he pressed for rigorous vetting of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug embraced by President Trump as a coronavirus treatment, and that the administration had put “politics and cronyism ahead of science.”
Rick Bright was abruptly dismissed this week as the director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, and removed as the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response. He was given a narrower job at the National Institutes of Health.
In a scorching statement, Dr. Bright, who received a Ph.D. in immunology and molecular pathogenesis from Emory University, assailed the leadership at the health department, saying he was pressured to direct money toward hydroxychloroquine, one of several “potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections” and repeatedly described by the president as a potential “game changer” in the fight against the virus.
“I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit,” he said in his statement. “I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science — not politics or cronyism — has to lead the way.”
Which is all baloney. Trump never "touted" hydroxychloroquine as a be-all and end-all for the coronavirus, he said there had been promising results in some cases and let the doctors continue testing. Nor did the National Institutes of Health 'ban' or even dis-recommend the use of hydroxychloroquine in itself in treating COVID-19 which was the second dishonestly reported controversy. The NIH recommended against a combination of HCQ and azithromycin outside clinical trials, based on complications in some patients. That's a far cry from the media claims that Trump was touting quack medicine with a financial stake in the drug sales (debunked by even left-leaning Snopes) and Trump had gotten his comeuppance as 'anti-science' with the preliminary NIH recommendation. Politico, which I noted the other day did some excellent reporting in contrast to the rest of the press on the hydroxychloroquine controversies, did an easy debunking of this ridiculous new attempt to Get Trump now:
Bright told The New York Times on Wednesday that he believed his removal was because of his internal opposition to pursuing investments in malaria drugs as potential treatments for Covid-19, which President Donald Trump has touted without scientific evidence. Three people with knowledge of HHS' recent acquisition of tens of millions of doses of those drugs said that Bright had supported those acquisitions in internal communications, with one official saying that Bright praised the move as a win for the health department as part of an email exchange that was first reported by Reuters last week, although Bright's message was not publicly reported.
"If Bright opposed hydroxychloroquine, he certainly didn't make that clear from his email — quite the opposite," said the official, who has seen copies of the email exchanges.
In a statement late Wednesday, an HHS official directly linked Bright's decisions to the health department's acquisition of the malaria drugs.
"As it relates to chloroquine, it was Dr. Bright who requested an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for donations of chloroquine that Bayer and Sandoz recently made to the Strategic National Stockpile for use on COVID-19 patients," spokesperson Caitlin Oakley said. "The EUA is what made the donated product available for use in combating COVID-19."
Bright has since hired political fabricator Christine Blasey Ford's lawyer to drive home the claim that Trump got rid of him for political reasons. That's likely to fall flat now that Politico did some real reporting and found that the guy was all for hydroxycloroquine earlier and had a lot of job perfromance problems in his past which is quite possibly the real reason the NIH brass wanted to fob him off onto someone else.
Politico gets credit for blowing this clown show out of the water -- and note that it wasn't even the same reporter as the earlier one who debunked the hydroxychloroquine story du jour -- which speaks well for the brand.
What we are seeing here is a constant media effort to use a tweet President Trump made on a potential cure for COVID-19 as a weapon against him, and in the process, take away a potential cure from people who really are sick from coronavirus. It's like they want to drive the death tolls up to Get Trump.
Which speaks pretty badly for them. Crisis management is an ever changing menu of circumstances. The press bid to weld Trump to hydroxychloroquine and pin a scandal on him, even though Trump himself is usually yelled at by swamp things for being mercurial and changing his mind otherwise - is absolute nonsense and now revealing itself to be the press's latest game. Time to call it out and make it to stop.
Image credit: Open Clip Art Library / public domain