Donald Trump is, and always has been, a snake oil salesman. From his days as a “young” trust fund clown in the 1980s to present, Trump has presented himself as a man with answers when, in fact, he’s a complete blowhard. What’s more, his latest snake oil pitch has helped put his presidency in some serious perspective — the Executive has never been quite so incompetent.
There were whispers among doctors that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) could help mitigate COVID-19 symptoms, or even cure it altogether. This rumor was apparently first pushed by an ill-informed doctor connected to, of all people, conservative shit clown Jerome Corsi. From there, Trump somehow got wind of the rumor, possibly from conservative media outlets he religiously listens to, and spread it himself in tweets, his daily briefings, and indirectly via Fox News. On top of all this, Trump has steamrolled scientists’ evidence and educated opinions on the effects of the HCQ, and he’s only now toned it down because one of the drug’s side effects can be death.
Let’s do a quick breakdown of the situation here: hyperbolic salesman peddles drug as miracle cure for scary invisible malady. If that isn’t the prototypical snake oil salesman, I don’t know what is. Putting aside the fact that Trump also briefly suggested — unironically, I might add — that it might be effective to treat COVID-19 patients with bleach and disinfectants intravenously, Trump’s blatant HCQ pushing has been his stupidest piece of pandemic-related misinformation yet. So stupid, in fact, that it begs asking why.
And of course, it looks like it comes down to the two cardinal Trump tropes: (1) desperation and (2) money. First, we’ll talk about the money. News outlets have been reporting that Trump has a stake in one of the companies that produces HCQ, albeit a small stake. Should it matter that it’s small? Absolutely not. Presidents shouldn’t have economic conflicts of interest—it makes doing the job with the public’s trust far more difficult. Trump might have his finances being managed by a blind trust, but he’s so depraved and money-hungry that even knowledge of his portfolio might effect his policy choices.
Trump’s desperation is also likely stemming from money woes, both personal and national. Trump supposedly lost $1bn in just one month because of the lockdown, so I’m sure he’s looking for ways to recoup. Additionally, Trump probably wanted to throw all his eggs in one basket hoping that HCQ would actually work and cure people so the economy would recover and the crisis could end—he could claim victory and probably gain a substantial amount of support.
So there you have it. The snake oil salesman strikes again. Don’t expect any miracle cures, and don’t expect any miracle decency from him.