White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany called out CNN host Chris Cuomo during a press conference Wednesday for “interestingly” taking “a less safe version” of Hydroxychloroquine before criticizing President Donald Trump for ‘dangerously’ taking the drug to protect himself against the novel coronavirus. Further, McEnany referred Cuomo to his brother, the Governor of New York, who happens to be excited about the promising evidence behind the drug in treating COVID-19 patients in his state.
“The President knows that Hydroxychloroquine is not supported by science, he knows it has been flagged by his own people and he’s using it,” McEnany told reporters. “Well, Cuomo mocked the President for this and interestingly, I found this out just before coming here, Hydroxychloroquine, of course, is an FDA approved medication with a long-proven track record for safety. And it turns out that Chris Cuomo took a less safe version of it called ‘quinine,’ which the FDA removed from the market in 2006 because of its serious side effects, including death.”
McEnany added, “So, really interesting to have that criticism of the President. And on that note, to Chris Cuomo, I’d like to redirect him to his brother, the Governor of New York, Governor Cuomo, who has several on the record statements about Hydroxychloroquine, saying ‘I’m an optimist, I’m hopeful about that drug. And that’s why we’ll try it here in New York as soon as we get it. There has been anecdotal evidence that it’s promising. That’s why we’re going ahead.’ And I have about eight other quotes from Governor Cuomo, should any of you have interest in that.”
The drug is FDA-approved for emergency use against COVID-19 and many doctors have touted the drug as successful in their patients suffering from the virus. It’s typically used for the prevention of malaria.
The President was prescribed the drug by the White House doctor, which he announced earlier this week, as several cases of the virus were recently reported in Trump’s circle. In his letter, his doctor noted that after discussing whether to administer the drug and, after consulting with experts “we concluded that the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.”
The drug that Cuomo took, while sick with the virus that he’s since recovered from, is what the FDA warns has “serious risks” associated with “off-label” use. In her blog posts documenting Cuomo’s treatment, his wife Cristina wrote that he was using “potentized quinine,” saying that it’s “not on the market here,” but that she took it for her own Lyme disease treatment.
“On top of this is homeopathy, which works according to the symptom picture. Potentized quinine (OXO); it’s derived from the nontoxic bark of Peruvian-grown quinine plants,” she wrote. “It is a natural antibiotic (it’s being used in India with very good results). This is not on the market here; Dr. Lancaster has made this in her lab for 40 years, and I took this for my Lyme. (The medicine Plaquinol, which many doctors are using for COVID-19 is similar to quinine, but it has negative side effects.)