Comedian John Oliver said Monday that President Donald Trump ignores the coronavirus medical experts in his midst to trumpet the “anecdotal” reports from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.
“That is what is infuriating here. Even though Trump has access to the country’s top experts he’s still getting advice from watching TV and not just on talking points but on medicine,” Oliver said on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
Oliver took aim Trump’s vocal support for the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. The president has even waived Food and Drug Administration regulations in an effort to provide greater access to the product.
“It’s a drug commonly used for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus and it got a huge boost in mid-March as a potential coronavirus treatment from Tucker Carlson’s show [on Fox News],” the comedian stated, adding that he took issue with the program’s assertion that the drug had received a hearty endorsement from Stanford University. (RELATED: South Dakota To Be First State To Test Hydroxychloroquine For Coronavirus Treatment)
“The feedback loop between Fox and Trump has run way ahead of the science here. In just one two-week period, Fox personalities and their guests made claims promoting hydroxychloroquine nearly 300 times with [Fox News host] Laura Ingraham even visiting Trump at the White House earlier this month to advocate for the drug.”
Ingraham presented an interview with a coronavirus survivor who swore hydroxychloroquine saved his life: “My feeling at that particular time was I thought I was at the end of my rope, and I didn’t see any other options. For me, it was a risk that was worth taking,” Rio Giardinieri told the program.
Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also cleared the way for the malaria treatment to be tested in trials. (RELATED: Axios Founder Blames Trump, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh For ‘Spreading Nonsense’ About COVID-19)
But Oliver says the enthusiasm for the drug is just a “media frenzy” that has confused the issue: “The efficacy of this drug, which should be a scientific issue, has become a political one. Anyone saying they want more comprehensive studies can be dismissed by the right as a Trump hater …”
“And if you argue that we shouldn’t make decisions based on anecdotal evidence, Rush Limbaugh has a ready response,” said Oliver, noting that Limbaugh stated on his radio show that anecdotal evidence is just as factual as a controlled scientific test: “it means it happened.”