For reasons known only to him, Donald Trump announced today that he’s been taking the drug hydroxychloroquine for about a week and a half, in order to protect himself against the worsening coronavirus outbreak in the White House. To be clear, he’s probably lying. But he just opened himself up to all kinds of questions about his medical status and his mental health.
Although Trump has a history of corrupting his doctors, we have a hard time imagining any doctor being willing to give him a drug that is proven to have no effect against coronavirus, and is dangerous enough that it could kill him on the spot. Trump could order a military doctor to give it to him, but even that would raise questions about whether the Secret Service would stand there and let a doctor give Trump a drug that under these circumstances would merely be poison.
But the bigger story here is that Trump is claiming he’s taking the drug. This gives his political opponents and the media an opening to put the focus on his failure to release his medical records. They can demand that he produce tests that prove he’s taking the drug. They can, and will, make this a scandal for him.
If Trump is indeed taking this drug, despite its proven lack of effectiveness for coronavirus, and the fact that it kills a lot of people, it paints him as far too mentally incompetent to be president. And if it turns out he’s lying about taking the drug, then that points to a whole different kind of crazy. No one was even talking about Trump’s hydroxychloroquine anymore, yet now he blurts this out? The guy no longer has any control over what comes out of his mouth – and it’s only going to get worse for him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report