Strongmen and their doctors. Throughout human history there have been innumerable cases of autocratic leaders whose whims and obsessions have been indulged – or exploited – by one or more would-be healers. In modern times many people think of the “mad monk” Grigori Rasputin plying his dubious wares in the Court of the Romanovs or the malodourous physician Theodor Morell squirming his way around the upper echelons of the Third Reich. Indeed in the latter example it’s arguable that the various diets and dubious treatments proscribed by the obese quack to Adolf Hitler contributed towards the psychotic fugue that the Führer found himself in during the final stages of the Second World War (though he certainly wasn’t the only one among the Nazi leadership to ride out the end of the conflict in a narcotic stupor). Even democratic leaders can have their fair indulgence of charlatans. Though remaining the subject of much speculation, and admittedly much myth-making, there is little doubt that Nancy Reagan allowed her pet astrologer Joan Quigley to have some influence on the policies of her husband’s White House administration during the 1980s.
So the news that the current and less-than-democratic incumbent of the Oval Office has taken to a more contemporary form of quack-medicine in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic is probably unsurprising to most people. Given Donald Trump’s increasingly poor reputation the wannabe Roi Soleil is only one more episode away from purposefully ingesting irradiated gold flakes in his food.
From a report by the Guardian:
Donald Trump has told reporters at the White House that for “a couple weeks” he has been taking a malaria drug as a defense against Covid-19 – despite warnings from his administration that it is dangerous.
Trump said he was taking hydroxychloroquine – a drug approved to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis – in response to the coronavirus threat.
But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been warning since April that the drug should not be used for that purpose because it could cause irregular heartbeats and other cardiac trauma.
The drug is not approved as a treatment for Covid-19 and Trump has not been diagnosed with the disease, to public knowledge.
Trump’s claim to be taking the drug was made as he attacked an administration whistleblower who went before Congress last week and described internal pressure to endorse the drug as an effective coronavirus treatment.
The whistleblower, Rick Bright, was the former director of a federal agency in charge of vaccines.