Trump’s doctor, an osteopath, approved his patient’s use of hydroxychloroquine. That’s quackery, regardless of the doctor’s credentials.

As you know, last week Donald Trump asserted that he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive for coronavirus, said that thousands of front-line medical workers were also taking it for the same reason, and argued that the drug had proved efficacious against the virus.  Yesterday I thought that all three claims might be lies (the first two certainly are), but now the president’s physician, Sean Conley, has weighed in saying that the Prez is indeed dosing himself with the nostrum, and on Conley’s advice.

It turns out that Sean Conley is an osteopath, as outlined in this Guardian article (click to read the screenshot). Here are his credentials:

Conley received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2006. He is a 2013 graduate of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program of Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in Portsmouth, Virginia. He received the Honor Graduate Award, Nurses’ Choice Award for Outstanding Senior Resident Award, and the Resident Research Award.

 

Here’s the letter testifying to Trump’s use of the drug on the advice of Conley:

Now I’m not going to say that Conley is a quack just because he’s a DO rather than an MD, though it is odd. Many osteopaths have training nearly identical to that of MDs, and some, I’ve heard, are fine physicians. But this one isn’t.

For Conley is violating the first part of the Hippocratic Oath (well, the revised version of that oath): “First do no harm.” And that’s the problem with hydroxychloroquine: it’s not only not efficacious against coronavirus, but it can be dangerous, causing heart problems, hallucinations, paranoia, and other “neuropsychiatric symptoms” (see article below), which gives one pause.

And Trump isn’t exactly the picture of health. According to the Guardian, he weighs around 239 pounds, just at the threshold of being “obese” (not “morbidly obese”, though, as Nancy Pelosi stated), sleeps 4-5 hours per night, eats a lot of junk food (especially from McDonald’s), and gets no exercise save golf (he probably uses a cart).

Only a fool, I think, would prescribe a useless drug that could be dangerous for someone in Trump’s condition—indeed, for someone in any condition.  Conley is not practicing evidence-based medicine, and in behaving this way is endangering his only patient. But give Trump some “credit”, too, for he knows the stuff doesn’t work and is still taking it—perhaps to reassure Americans that there can be a preventive. As Trump argued, “What do you have to lose?” My answer, “Your life, fool!” Conley’s claim in the letter that “the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks” is pure cant—in fact, the statement cannot possibly be true based on the data we have.

The FDA itself has declared that hydroxychloroquine “has not been shown to be safe and effective”. What on earth is Trump’s doctor doing?

At any rate, the article below from Just Security (click on screenshot), ends with 9 questions for “Dr.” Conley.

Yes, it would be good if Conley answered those questions, but he won’t. Here are four of them:

4. What is the complete medical record of Donald Trump that might put him at risk of dangerous side effects in taking the drug? More specifically, does Trump have any history of heart trouble or disease, or any other medical condition that would make it dangerous for him to take this drug?

5. Conley’s memo states: “After numerous discussions…we concluded the potential benefit from the treatment outweighed the relative risks.” The use of “we” in this sentence is notable. Is Dr. Conley saying that he would not have recommended use of the drug? In other words, is Dr. Conley hiding that Trump’s views outweighed the physician’s sound medical advice of the risks? Why did it take numerous discussions?

6. If it is true that Trump is taking this drug, why has Dr. Conley knowingly prescribed a drug that the FDA and other authorities have determined is potentially fatal, and, moreover, whose beneficial effects on treating COVID-19 are unproven? Why has Dr. Conley prescribed a drug possibly risking the life of the president and in violation of FDA guidelines, medical standards, ethics, and professionalism?

9. Medical researchers have concluded that hydroxychloroquine may cause neuropsychiatric symptoms, “including agitation, insomnia, confusion, mania, hallucinations, paranoia, depression, catatonia, psychosis, and suicidal ideation.” Has Dr. Conley properly assessed his patient, President Trump, for his susceptibility to these symptoms? Since Trump has been taking the drug has Dr. Conley observed that it has produced or exacerbated any of these symptoms in President Trump?

I know that some people will be wishing for Trump’s demise from this drug (you can see it among the usual-suspect bloggers). I don’t wish for anyone’s demise, though I want Trump to be defeated in November. But by putting his imprimatur on the use of hydroxychloroquine to prevent Covid-19 infection, Conley is setting a terrible example not just for those worried about the virus, but for anyone who has confidence in modern medicine.

Sean Conley, quack

h/t: David

122 thoughts on “Trump’s doctor, an osteopath, approved his patient’s use of hydroxychloroquine. That’s quackery, regardless of the doctor’s credentials.

  1. This is precisely what Trump wants – to stoke the fantasy of a war, but with the objects and language of medicine, and he is portraying a a brave warrior in such a war by taking the damage, injury, and risk of not bullet fire and mortar but of risky drugs that the all the “experts” said would kill him.

    And he will show up one day, portraying a warrior that made it, to prove the “experts” wrong to save the country. And win the election.

    It’s Fantasyland!

    1. For someone who fancies himself a “warrior,” Trump sure went into a lava-level meltdown over his staff’s having let someone with COVID-19 get anywhere near him.

      It’s like the Fox News pundits who complain about Democratic governors maintaining social-distancing restrictions … all while eschewing the Fox studios themselves in favor of broadcasting from home.

  2. I’ve posted before that I have experience with hydroxychloroquine (for malaria). It is a drug that is commonly prescribed and used by millions of people. That does NOT mean it is safe to take just because you think (hope) it will prevent or treat COVID-19.

    Off-label prescribing is common among doctors. And in many instances, it is beneficial for patients — where a drug that was developed for one condition is found safe and effective for another. But, no doctor would ethically allow a patient dictate what drug they need to take.

    Trump is either irresponsibly taking a drug or lying irresponsibly about taking this drug. Either way, it is extremely troubling.

    The drug is quite harsh. My doctor cautioned me often to stop taking it as soon as it was safe to do so (when I was no longer at risk from malaria). I did experience psychological side effects (extremely vivid and violent, paranoid dreams). The drug also has documented cardiac effects in some patients. It has caused deaths.

    I am just astounded that Trump continues to promote this drug and even more so if he is actually taking it.

    1. Sorry to hear you had such awful side effects. I was prescribed Quinine (another Malaria drug) in the tropics for shin pains and leg cramps in the 90s. I had a very scary reaction also; dizziness, clamminess, feeling faint and palpitations to the point I even thought I was dying. Would never try it again!

      1. I was taking chorloquine (hydroxy) while doing field work. I was working in a region that has always been a hotbed of malarial resistance. I ended up with malaria even though I was taking the drug as a preventative. I was actually treated with quinine. That worked.

    2. I took it when I was working in equatorial Africa, but have almost no memory of it. My wife says I was miserable taking it.

      She is also pretty upset at Trump’s announcement, as people will start asking her to prescribe it. Currently, she is getting lots of people who want her to sign a note exempting them from wearings masks (which she will not be doing).

  3. I feel bad mostly for the people who need this drug and are having issues sourcing it because of these stupid claims. Funnily enough I could be taking it in the near future but most likely will ask for a more recent DMARD drug instead.

    And do osteopaths really get the same training as MDs? In Canada they are peri medical types not trained in medical schools and considered alternative medicine alongside chiropractors.

    1. In the US they have mainstreamed and are equivalent to MDs. Everywhere else they are (sadly, given a dear friend from years ago that got into it) frankly quacky as a discipline.

      1. Good example of US exeptionalism? In the rest of the world osteopathy is considered quackery.

    2. Consistent with Keith’s comment, my experience with DOs in the US is that they are mainstream medics. I have worked with a number of people whose first medical degree is a DO over the years and none of them have exhibited any tendency to quackery!

        1. “I wouldn’t trust a DO with a hangnail.”

          I would judge a doc by reputation, not diplomas. Here in Ventura, one of the top orthopedic surgeons for many years was a DO.

    3. I have a friend with Lupus who takes it. She hasn’t had trouble getting it. For her side effects are very minimal and it seems effective.

      As far as Trump getting it, in general I am ambivalent about this. People are free to take what they want and it is an approved drug with at least some safety information available. Except he’s president, so a whole lot of fools will be following suit. He has an obligation to the country to act like a president. We all know his completely incapable of that.

      Anyway, it doesn’t appear to be effective against SARS-CoV2 and I think it is a risky thing to take, especially an overweight elderly man, without better safety evidence.

      1. I’m sure Trump is monitored very closely by his doctor, but that won’t necessarily be the case for his gullible fans who may decide to try it.

  4. I’m no fan of Trump (to say the least!)

    I will just comment that BMI is a bad measurement to define a healthy weight in individuals. Especially tall individuals.

    The person who originally proposed the measure specifically said it should not be used to assess individuals, only populations. Of course, this was immediately ignored because BMI is an easy measure to compute.

    BMI (as defined) is scientifically illogical because it tracks weight to the square of height (length dimension). Volume (and mass) go up with the cube of the length, not the square. (The shape (aspect ratio) of the human body does not systematically change as you move up the distribution of height in individuals.)

    Trump is 6′-3″ tall, above the 95th percentile for men (USA): He’s tall.

    So, the BMI is biased to indicate that he is fatter than reality.

    Some comments on BMI.

    1. Obviously, I am assuming the BMI is being used to define him as just shy of obese. But BMI is ubiquitous and the usual metric in these cases.

    2. Trump claims to be 6’3″ but his previous drivers license lists him as 6’2″ and pictures of him next to various celebrities, including Obama, of known height put him closer to 6′ or 6’1″.

      I also find his reported weight suspect. I’m 6’1″ and currently 223 lbs. I’ve been as high as 238 and, while larger than I wanted to be, did not have the kind of physique Trump shows in a golf shirt. At a guess, Trump’s real dimensions are six feet tall and at least 250 lbs.

      I agree that BMI is a poor indicator, but Trump is overweight by any reasonable standard.

      1. I remember when Shaquille O’Neal (7′-1″) was cited by the Magic and the Lakers listed him at 305 pounds.

        That made me laugh out loud.

        The guy was a mountain in his build and he was over 7 feet tall. Other forwards and centers just bounced off him.

      2. I looked at photos of Trump and Obama: They are about the same height. Obama is 6′-1″, so I think you are correct on Trump.

        So Trump has lied about his height (and his glove size, undoubtedly). 🙂 No surprise there, right?

      3. So much like Putin with lying about the height. His height varies as well and he’s most likely closer to my height (5’3″). I guess height is important to totalitarians.

    3. Trump is only 6 foot 3 because he is well known to wear shoe lifts. He’s about same height as Obama, about 6 foot 1. That will change his BMI.

        1. Indeed. A body builder and a couch potato of the same height and BMI would look different and have different health outlooks.

          1. Yes, very true: the body builder will, due to his use of anabolic steroids, have a shorter life expedtancy due to rampant atherosclerosis.

  5. “may cause neuropsychiatric symptoms… Has Dr. Conley properly assessed his patient, President Trump, for his susceptibility to these symptoms?”

    I’m not sure how you could tell in tRump’s case.

    1. Given Trump’s way, way over the top vindictive announcement today about withholding aid to Michigan that has just suffered a horrible catastrophe,and other states that are going to mail ballots so their constituents can vote by mail, given the psychiatric side-effects I’m beginning to wonder if he did indeed take “hydroxy,” and I’m not being facetious even given Trump’s history of destructive craziness.

      BTW, I support the work of Drs. Bandy X Lee, Justin Frank, et al., who are convinced that they have a “Duty to Warn” the public about Trump’s increasing derangement. I agree with them that what they are doing is not clinical diagnosis — they source from public documents and reportage, not from private sessions. And I agree that the APA has sold out to the monied interests. The APA and allied organizations are indeed silent about Trump’s descent into raging insanity.

      Daniel Goldman, lead Democratic counsel for the impeachment hearings, offered a “friendly reminder” re Trump’s latest attempt at political blackmail: https://twitter.com/danielsgoldman/status/1263105478562807808, and noted that “In fact, it was a hypothetical designed to show how absurd that would be.” Such an unimaginable absurdity!

  6. I think the lie may Trump’s claim that he is taking it. The doctor’s note does strongly imply it, but it doesn’t actually say it directly.

    Someone pointed out elsewhere that Trump’s family has a financial stake in one of the companies that prodcues this drug. His earler public comments on the drug did have the same tone as his hawking of Trump steaks and other scams of his.

    1. Sorry, I didn’t see your comment about the doctor’s note before I posted mine below #11 re the note not stating that T was prescribed the medication by that doctor or any other.

  7. I remember what happened to Michael Jackson’s personal doctor after he was also wilfully negligent.

    Trump’s poor misguided sap will never see the light of day if Prez croaks.

    Maybe he’s taking one for the good of humanity. At the very least he’s ensuring he’s unemployable once Trump sacks him on a whimsy.

    1. Celebrity medicine is dangerous, as is celebrity aviation. In both cases, the patient (or passenger) can push the professional into doing unsafe things.

  8. It must be kept in mind that Trump’s doctor’s note never states explicitly that this doctor or anybody actually prescribed hydroxychloroquine to Trump. Great if ‘implausible’ deniability.

    1. Yes — thank you. The media has simply run with this short letter without reading what it actually says.

      They also report that Trump is taking the medicine too, simply because Trump says he is. The media obsesses about counting up Trump’s lies, but then forgets immediately forgets that he lies.

      Then they wonder why he’s dominating the news.

      1. With tRump, you can’t tell. His story is corroborated by other White House reporting, but those are all people who work for him, so…

        I don’t find it surprising that he dominates the news. It isn’t because “the media” is at fault, IMO, it is because he is in such a powerful position. I object only if they report what he says without offering the actual facts immediately thereafter.

    2. Yes, that letter does a good job of misdirection. As we noted a couple of days back. I still think this whole exercise is more of a smokescreen. However the video of him talking about it does raise reasonable questions about his cerebral function

      twitter.com/atrupar/status/1262839740509949957


  9. Trump…and gets no exercise save golf (he probably uses a cart).”

    Trump literally drives his cart onto the greens contrary to golf etiquette

    1. As opposed to other people who drive their carts onto the green figuratively? 😉

      Still I suppose you are correct in the sense that he actually, really, literally did it.

    2. For a great read and a lot of insight into Trump, read Rick Reilly’s Commander in Cheat. Basically, it’s all about Trump and golf. He’s not a bad golfer at 10 handicap or better. As far as carts, yes he drives onto greens. He also always hits first and leaves immediately to get to his ball before anyone else has hit. Why? To improve his lie (pun intended) should he need to.

  10. MY TWO CENTS–
    I am a DO who was trained at the osteopathic medical school in Pomona California—-and have been practicing Family Medicine for 28 years quite successfully. (As I type this I am in my office doing Telemedicine due to Covid19)

    I have had patients call me asking me to prescribe Hydroxychloroquinine because Trump was talking about it. I said no for two reasons:
    It has not been proven to work.
    and
    If I did, I would be subject to my State Medical board being alerted, and my charts subject to review. If I was found to be practicing outside of standard of care, the medical board could have a hearing, and by a vote of the board, my license would be revoked.
    This could happen within three days.

    Jerry, this scenario is what is always “active” behind the scenes everyday I practice medicine.
    This is what prevents board certified physicians from deviating from standards.
    You have a strep infection, and I give you Penicillin—I don’t add crushed spleen of a frog to your prescription because I know the pharmacy would call the board of medicine for the state.
    My phone would be ringing, and again, I would lose my license.

    My query is that when it comes to Trump and his sycophants, why do all the systems we have in place stop working when it comes to Trump?
    Why has the medical board not called Dr. Conley to inquire why he is giving a senior, morbidly obese male a drug for a condition he does not have.

    If I did that, I would lose my licence to practice medicine.

    What if Donald Trump ordered Dr Conley to start an IV and inject a carefully diluted bleach/disinfectant solution into the veins of Donald Trump because Trump wanted a “covid cleaning that would work in a minute”

    Would Dr Conley have to do it?

    If he didnt, could Trump have him arrested for disobeying an order?

    1. Because he’s military. Three years ago my sister had the wrong toe removed from the wrong foot. She lives in Ill and I in mich. When she told me about it I nearly went thru the phone. No big thing she says. Well ask any reputable surgeon they’ll have some say. I later learned that she was being treated at a vets hospital. I am not condemning vets hospitals but I have worked in military hospitals and personnel were exempt from licensing restrictions at that time. I assume it’s not changed much if at all. In which case he’s in.

      1. I recently had a hip replacement at a specialty orthopedic surgery center (with excellent results).

        They had multiple checks as to which side was affected on the day of. It started with asking me: Which hip? Then marking that hip in big letters with a Sharpie permanent marker. I initialed the mark with the Sharpie.

        Then, as each person came in to do something, they would ask again, and verify again.

        Finally, the surgeon came in, asked again, we looked at the mark and he initialed it before the anethesiologist put me under.

        This was all after multiple appointments with the surgeon in which we discussed the right hip.

        They were making damned sure. (They also had excellent pre-surgical PT, infection control protocols, post-surgical PT, etc.)

        1. “I recently had a hip replacement at a specialty orthopedic surgery center (with excellent results).”

          One of the perks of my day gig (I represent plaintiffs in med-mal cases) is that I get ALL of the chatter, both good and bad, about all of the local doctors and facilities.

          So I knew who to go to when I needed a new hip in late ’18. I was walking without a cane in one week, and playing golf in three.

          And yes–they followed the same sort of protocols you mentioned. With good reason.

        2. They do that with radiation too. You typically go every day for an out a month. They ask you, everyday, what your birthday is, and where you are getting radiation. Of course, you are tattooed already to line up the machine as well. I actually had radiation in my birthday once so they looked at my chart and said , “oh happy birthday”.

        3. Reminds me of the old story about a guy who went into hospital to have his leg amputated. He woke up to find the surgeon at his bedside
          “how did it go?” he asked the surgeon.
          “well, there’s good news and bad news” the surgeon said. “Which would you like first?”
          “Better give me the bad news” he said.
          “Well, I’m sorry to say that we’ve taken off the wrong leg” said the surgeon. “But the good news is that the other leg’s getting much better…”

    2. Why has the medical board not called Dr. Conley to inquire why he is giving a senior, morbidly obese male a drug for a condition he does not have.

      Maybe they have and Doctor Conley replied saying he did not prescribe any hydroxychloroquine for Donald Trump. Read the letter. The one thing it doesn’t say is that Conley prescribed or administered anything.

      I’d like to think he’s actually giving Trump tic-tacs but I think that would be ethically problematic too.

  11. Perhaps the good doctor is really more of a coward than a quack — afraid to stand up to Trump’s demand for the drug. As the parade of officials who’ve left Trump’s administration has aptly demonstrated, you have to be a coward (or a weasel, or both) to work for Trump because if you don’t tell him what he wants to hear you’re out.

    1. Either way: stay or leave, stand up to him or kiss butt, as Rick Wilson’s book title has it, it’s sadly true that “Everything Trump Touches Dies.” He corrupts everything around him with his not so novel contagion, his Trumplstiltskin virus-45.

  12. I hope you’re not confusing DO with ND.

    But, my real comment is do we KNOW he is taking it? Do we know if he is even getting it, or is he getting a placebo? Same size, etc., and in the ‘official’ bottle???

  13. Sorry to hear you had such awful side effects. I was prescribed Quinine (another Malaria drug) in the tropics for shin pains and leg cramps in the 90s. I had a very scary reaction also; dizziness, clamminess, feeling faint and palpitations to the point I even thought I was dying. Would never try it again!

  14. The effects and side effects of the drug are probably highly dependent on dose. He may be taking an innocuous amount. Also, individuals differ in their response to drugs, so he may have no noticeable symptoms that would cause the doctor to take him off the drug.
    As for motive one, it would seem it’s the same motive that has always driven him. His family is invested in the manufacturer. Sales are up as of late, and he probably sees this as a way to hype a product. Like tRump steak, tRump University diplomas, tRump vodka, etc.
    Motive two, distraction.

  15. I highly recommend daily blood letting, a weekly bolus of mercury and maybe some leeches for good measure. Oh, and Agent Orange should be drinking his own urine.

  16. “‘After numerous discussions…we concluded the potential benefit from the treatment outweighed the relative risks.’ The use of ‘we’ in this sentence is notable.”

    This was the first thing I noticed. I imagine the conversation went like this:

    Trump: I want to take hydroxy-whateveritscalled.

    Conley: Sir, I don’t know if that’s a good id-

    Trump: I want it now!

    Conley: But, sir-

    Trump: Shut up and say you approve it!

    It was less a conversation and more of a bullying.

    1. I imagine in there somewhere there was also a Trump soliloquy about how smart he is:

      Listen, I know about this stuff. I have a natural ability. My uncle knew about this stuff so I know about this stuff. I don’t know, maybe it’s genetic. I just know about this stuff so I should take it. What do you know? Maybe I don’t know about it as much a you do but I am a fast learner. I already learned a lot about this stuff. I appreciate you went to school for his but I still know about it.

      1. Diana, how could you possibly forget the standard Trump closing line: “I probably know more about this stuff than anyone else in the world.”

  17. To be fair, D.O.s in America receive essentially identical training nowadays to M.D.s, and their licensure and board certification requirements and examinations are truly identical; some of the best doctors with whom I’ve worked were D.O.s. So that’s not an actual issue.

    I would also say if it were ONLY that the FDA hasn’t approved hydroxychloroquine for this use I wouldn’t be as worried – after all, marijuana is still federally a schedule 1 controlled substance, meaning it has “a high abuse potential” and no medical use…the first of which claim is dubious at best and the second of which is plainly untrue. Also, doctors prescribe meds off-label all the time, since the process of getting official FDA approval for particular uses is a lengthy one and is often subject to various political and economic forces that have little or nothing to do with medical science.

    However…hydroxychloroquine is NOT in the same space as marijuana. It really can be quite dangerous, as noted in PCC(E)’s post, and there’s no indication of which I’m aware that it does ANY good whatsoever for patients against this coronavirus.

    I can understand a bit of the SENTIMENT behind the “usual-suspect” bloggers wishing harm to the president, but in all seriousness, we don’t want an elderly, possibly already mildly demented man who has the power to trigger who knows how many disastrous possible outcomes to be taking something that might further affect his judgment…especially when that person surrounds himself with yes-persons who will go along with his most inane ideas…among whom it seems is this physician.

    I’m reminded of Michael Jackson’s doctor who prescribed him the propofol that killed him. I’m sure there’s tremendous pressure from many directions just “to go along with the kook” and prescribe him what he wants, and for all I know he’s actually giving Mr. Trump a placebo. But the example he’s setting, both for citizens who might follow the president’s example and do themselves harm and for other physicians who might just shrug their shoulders and succumb to pressure on their end in a situation already laden with exceptional pressures now seems unconscionable.

    Perhaps Dr. Conley considers one of the possible benefits to be the tiny chance that the president might become a super-hero?

    1. In light of your observations, this is quite disheartening but not surprising: “FDA appears to soften its stance on hydroxychloroquine after trump says he takes malaria drug” https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/19/fda-appears-to-soften-stance-on-hydroxychloroquine-after-trump-says-he-takes-malaria-drug.html.

      Now I’m reading that Trumpists are trying to make it themselves, sort of like bathtub gin https://www.rawstory.com/2020/05/trumps-biggest-fans-are-so-bent-on-taking-hydroxychloroquine-theyre-making-their-own/.

  18. … gets no exercise save golf (he probably uses a cart).

    Trump always uses a cart on the golf course. Hell, he also needed a golf cart to cart his flabby ass the 700 yards in Sicily that every other leader at the G7 conference simply walked.

    And when Trump plays golf, he drives his cart not just onto the tee box but across the green, one of the grossest violations of golfing etiquette imaginable. He also cheats like a bandit while playing. I’ve long thought you can tell a lot about a person’s character by the respect for the game they demonstrate while playing what they claim to be their favorite participatory sport.

    1. I’m afraid I’ve always thought that Trump’s love of golf is prima facie evidence of his imbecility, immorality and lack of judgment.

      “Golf is a good walk spoiled’ – Mark Twain

      1. You and Mr. Clemens will get no argument from me; I gave up the game three decades ago.

        1. I’m driving out to Riverside on Friday, to play Oak Quarry with three friends, and then Glen Ivy on Saturday.

          One person per cart, separate hotel rooms–these are strange times.

  19. Given that the side effects of hydroxychloroquine include paranoia and hallucinations, I’m starting to suspect it’s been Donald Trump’s lifelong drug-of-choice.

    1. Imagine that were the case and one day he came out speaking in complete sentences, using proper diction with the oratory command of Cicero and speeches crafted like JFK?

      1. I’ve sometimes imagined Trump stepping onto the podium at one of his Nuremberg-style campaign rallies only to open his mouth and address the crowd in stentorian Elizabethan iambic-pentameter. 🙂

        1. Sam Harris has talked about this quite a bit: What if it is all just an act; and, in private, he speaks like JFK or Robert Kennedy?

          Before dismissing the idea out of hand, of course.

    1. As James Comey put it, Donald Trump eats the souls of those around him one bite at a time.

      Pretty soon he’ll be able to mop up what’s left of Dr. Birx’s with a dinner roll.

      1. “mop up what’s left of Dr. Birx’s with a dinner roll.”

        Terrific turn of phrase. Like, “she’s toast”, but more, “she’s gravy”.

    2. This article in Business Insider tells more of the story https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-rebukes-fauci-but-not-birx-because-she-is-charming-2020-5. The last sentence of the article reeks of cynicism and scorn, “From the beginning of her role at the White House, Debbie Birx is out for Debbie Birx…”

      In addition, she comes from a religious background, is a “lifelong evangelical,” which puts her previous official work in Africa to combat HIV, in a more jaundiced light — “Ambassador Deborah Birx Speaks With Religion News Service About Work With PEPFAR, Faith-Based Organizations’ Roles In Ending AIDS.”
      https://www.kff.org/news-summary/ambassador-deborah-birx-speaks-with-religion-news-service-about-work-with-pepfar-faith-based-organizations-roles-in-ending-aids/. Disturbing then that she was appointed by Obama, but one sees where her primary loyalty lies (or secondary, if it’s true that “Debbie Birx is out for Debbie Birx.”

      Trump surrounds himself with evangelical physicians (barring Fauci, whose religious beliefs if he has any, do not seem to vitiate the integrity of his science)and most all of them give themselves away when sooner or later, they advocate wacko ideas or go along with them.

      BTW, Redfield, another evangelical toady,has his job on the line because as head of the CDC he got caught in the Trump juggernaut, when the CDC came under fire. Birx, knowing what she must do, turned on Redfiend. It’s a viper’s nest.

      1. Think I made a Freudian slip: “Redfield,” not “Redfiend.” Next time I use his name I’ll probably write “Renfield.”

      2. Acc’d to a close colleague’s sister, who has long worked @ NIH, Fauci is a Catholic and a Republican.

        1. I’m not really surprised but it goes to show that true integrity isn’t subject to political whims or even religious persuasions. Seems like the evangelicals’ morals are purely transactional and the wheels are oiled by bucks.

          When it comes to moral integrity among the religious right,it’s quite damning that Norma McCorvey confessed on her deathbed that she was paid off by the religious right to repudiate her previous stand on abortion.

        2. He calls himself a Humanist. I think he’s a closet atheist, myself.

          “I have evolved into less a Roman Catholic religion person [to] someone who tries to keep a degree of spirituality about them. I look upon myself as a humanist. I have faith in the goodness of mankind.”

  20. Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro is as much of an idiot as Trump. He and his followers have also pushed (hydroxy-)chloroquine as a Covid-19 cure. Just yesterday the pro-Bolsonaro mayor of a nearby town (Porto Feliz, SP) spent US$20,000 of municipal funds for 2000 hydroxychloroquine “kits” to hand out free, without medical guidance, to townspeople who have been infected or wish to ‘prevent’ the virus. The comments are also informative. Here is a link (Google translate gives a readable English version):
    https://noticias.uol.com.br/saude/ultimas-noticias/redacao/2020/05/20/porto-feliz-sp-entrega-kit-covid-19-com-cloroquina-para-tratar-covid-19.htm

    1. FWIW, the Lt Gov of PA is married to a Brazilian woman – I know them both. Her uncle is in Brazil and currently on a respirator, sedated.

  21. Be fair: as pictured in your post Conley does have a bill. Thank you, goodnight! Tip your…er, tip me!!

  22. The letter from the doctor doesn’t actually say explicitly that he prescribed it for Trump. It just says they concluded the benefits outweighed the risks. Although Trump said he’s taking it, you can’t trust anything he says.

  23. I think all malaria medication is basically a form of chemotherapy: Keep the protozoans at bay enough so they don’t reproduce without killing the person taking the drug.

    I took Larium for some months and always felt a little grotty the day after taking the weekly dose.

    Glad I don’t live in a malaria zone.

  24. The whole chloroquine issue is a joke.

    The lead author of the initial, weak study [ https://www.mediterranee-infection.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Hydroxychloroquine_final_DOI_IJAA.pdf ] is Didier Raoult, who is the same nutcase that attacks biology, climate change, and some vaccines and other recommended health measures [ https://www.politico.eu/article/how-a-french-doctor-is-turning-into-a-pr-headache-for-macron/ ] and has a history of eager and erroneous publication [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didier_Raoult ]. “Raoult’s extremely high publication rate results from his “attaching his name to nearly every paper that comes out of his institute”,[20] a practice that has been called “grossly unethical” by Steven Salzberg.[21]”

    But of course Trump would like him, Raoult looks like his former physician Harold Bornstein. (Look it up!)

    And – which W. Benson already commented on – of course we now have Brazil President Bolsonaro having his top pandemic advisors quit over his releasing the harmful and ineffective chloroquine as pseudoscience medicine in Brazil [ https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/brazil-coronavirus-deaths-reach-daily-record-crisis-deepens-200520000716007.html ].

    “Brazil’s daily death toll from the new coronavirus jumped to a record 1,179 on Tuesday as President Jair Bolsonaro said the health ministry would issue new guidelines on the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the illness.”

    “President Jair Bolsonaro, an ideological ally of US President Donald Trump, has been widely criticised for his handling of the outbreak and his continued opposition to restrictions on movement he sees as too damaging to the economy.”

    “Bolsonaro said Interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello would issue new guidelines on Wednesday expanding the recommended use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus. Pazuello took over after Health Minister Dr Nelson Teich resigned on Friday over the guidelines, making him the second trained doctor to leave the post in a month.”

  25. OK, I don’t wish for Trump to die from taking hydroxychloroquine nor from contracting the coronavirus but I do want him to get COVID-19. After his unconscionable politicization of a national health emergency, lying incessantly about it, causing real harm to Americans with looney medical opinion, he deserves it. It would be deliciously ironic too by proving that his idiotic prophylactic use of this drug failed to prevent him from catching covid (I still think he’s lying about taking HCQ but even if he is, he won’t be able to deny it) just as the FDA said, and further discredit him as having good instincts, giving good advice, not trusting experts, and being an incompetent leader during this crisis.

    1. Given the deaths he’s caused by his assault on health care for the poor alone… I don’t mind if he dies at all. After November. Pence could easily actually WIN as those idiot Repubs and Christ Clappers line up behind him with no reservations.
      D.A., J.D., NYC
      ps I’m sure Trump is LYING about taking it – he’s just doubling down on his earlier endorsement of it. When HAS he told the truth?
      pps Osteopathy IS quackery, louder than Honey.

  26. The dead must be dreading his possible impending arrival lets hope he survives… and losers the election.
    RIP is in grave danger…

  27. Piffle. Every medication can be dangerous. Hydrochloroquine is approved by the FDA. It has been prescribed for lupus for decades. I took it myself for several years for Sjögren’s syndrome.

    1. “Every medication can be dangerous.”

      That’s why it is unethical to prescribe it to people except for conditions where efficacy has been demonstrated.

    2. Piffle? Try again. I design drugs for a living. Your (and Trump’s) erroneous presumption is that hydroxychloroquine will have comparable adverse effects for a COVID patient as it would for say a rheumatoid arthritis patient. Wrong. Just the fact the this coronavirus can damage the heart, potentially exacerbating the well known cardiotoxic effects of HCQ, is cause for concern.

  28. “I know that some people will be wishing for Trump’s demise from this drug (you can see it among the usual-suspect bloggers). I don’t wish for anyone’s demise, though I want Trump to be defeated in November.

    I’m in total agreement with you. If I had my way, none of us would intentionally or unintentionally cause others to die. I don’t know, however, what can be done before voting tRump out of office to curtail his statements and actions that may be deadly to others. When he recommends “medical” actions and treatments that already have killed some and are likely to kill more. When he foments potential rebellion by people with no masks, no distancing, but with guns, to overturn valid instructions by governors, mayors, the agencies designed to protect us, etc. I feel similarly about fellow citizens who so value their individual “freedoms”that they refuse to wear masks or follow distancing requirements to save others. I wish there were some appropriate way of penalizing these people.

    1. Wishing for tRump’s demise, unless one is involved in magical thinking, is nothing more than a measure of contempt and a recognition of the profound damage this man has done. I don’t think there’s any real harm done when expressing such thoughts.

      1. Exactly, GBJames. And really, this is just another expression of the “Trolley Problem,” introduced by Philippa Foot in 1967 (although it seems that the thought must have occurred to others before that): https://www.theguardian.com/science/head-quarters/2016/dec/12/the-trolley-problem-would-you-kill-one-person-to-save-many-others

        How many lives would be saved if His Orange Shitheadedness shuffled off this mortal coil? I don’t know, but I’m sure that it’s a huge number.

        What makes us suspicious of our own motives and conclusions is that he is such a horrible person that we might *want* him to die, but even if he were sweetness and light, the Trolley Problem would still need to be addressed. And sacrificing him to save the many would not necessarily be an inherently reprehensible position.

        1. I bet one day someone will do the math on how many people died unnecessarily with this horrible mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis & the math will be pretty accurate & pretty shocking in its results.

          In a comment on the interwebs, I created a satire where I pretended to speak like Trump & talked about how Trump was so much better than Stalin and Hitler and the numbers would come up but Trump was new at causing mass death. Someone actually didn’t recognize the satire and told me “I’m sorry but you are dumb”. LOL That’s how bad things are.

          1. This was my comment:

            At least he’s trying. It’s not easy to kill a bunch of people all at once without raising suspicions. The media is just trying to prevent Trump from being re-elected by making needless deaths seem bad all of sudden. #winning #fakenews #dontbenasty

        2. If mentally wishing made it so, or even verbalizing such a wish in the privacy of my home made it so, this miscreant would have been dead long ago. However, I don’t seem to be able to make it so by wishing. I’m just surprised that non-far right patriots with guns haven’t shot him and suffered the consequence.

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