Republican senators are practically begging people to ignore Trump's medical advice

Joanna Taylor
Tuesday 19 May 2020 10:30
news
( Alex Wong / Win McNamee / Getty Images )

A Republican senator appears to have gently suggested that Americans ignore Trump's advice to take hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19.

Alaskan senator Lisa Murkowski pointed out that people should listen to the "medical professionals" rather than herself or the president.

Follow the guidance of our medical professionals. 

I'm not a medical professional. The president is not. We should be listening to them. 

Trump, who has repeatedly touted the benefits of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, revealed during a press conference that he had personally been taking the drug for "a couple of weeks".

There is no substantiated evidence that the drug is an effective treatment for Covid-19, which Trump recently tested negative for.

It is, however, possible that Trump stands to gain financially from sales of hydroxychloroquine, as reportedly he owns a stake in one of the company that makes it.

Trump has faced a significant backlash for his comments, including from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Fox News's Neil Cavuto who suggested the drug could "kill you".

It is, indeed, possible that the malaria drug could have dangerous side effects.

In March, a man in Arizona died after taking chloroquine phosphate, having heard Trump speak about it during press briefings. The chloroquine the man ingested was not in form of a malaria tablet, but as aquarium cleaner, never intended for human consumption.

It now appears that even senators from Trump's party are seeking to distance themselves from his comments.

According to reporting from CNN's Manu Raju, both Lisa Murkowski and junior Wyoming senator John Barrasso recommended Americans consult their doctors and listen to medical professionals rather than accept Trump's advice.

Trump has drawn repeated criticism during the pandemic for the 'medical advice' he has imparted during press briefings.

And while the majority of people immediately recognised that drinking bleach is just about the least healthy thing a person can do, Trump's ramblings about hydroxychloroquine are not so easy to dismiss.

At a time when people fear for the safety of themselves and their families, pedalling fake treatments from a position of power such as Trump's is hugely dangerous. The consequences of his words, whether spoken through ignorance or in hopes of gaining profit, can be enormous.

So perhaps it's time for his party and advisors to do more than look embarrassed by what he says.

It's not enough to suggest that people look to medical advice rather than to what the president of the United States says.

Politicians like Trump have medical advisors precisely so they can guide us through crises like the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump should be imparting the facts, and his party and advisors should step in when he fails to do so.

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