White House economic adviser Peter Navarro on Wednesday doubled down on the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which President Donald Trump and his allies continue to falsely tout as a COVID-19 treatment, despite scant concrete evidence of its efficacy.
“I stand by it. I’m sitting on millions of doses of it,” he said in a combative interview on CNN. When host John Berman repeatedly pointed to several limitations of recent studies of the drug’s use on COVID-19 patients, Navarro falsely claimed the media is “wanting to knock this down.”
“The problem is that the media, as soon as Donald Trump said this stuff is good, politicized it,” Navarro said.
There is no clear evidence that the anti-malarial drug is effective as a COVID-19 treatment. Public health experts, including infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, leading the U.S. response to the COVID-19 crisis, have warned against promoting it because of the lack of widespread scientific consensus on the drug’s use as a COVID-19 treatment.
Yet Trump and his administration continue to claim otherwise, including by retweeting discredited videos. At his COVID-19 press conference Tuesday, he again promoted the drug by citing a conspiracy theorist who falsely claimed it could “cure” COVID-19.
On Wednesday, Navarro continued to attempt to discredit Fauci, which he previously did in an op-ed by cherry-picking statements from Fauci from earlier in the pandemic.
Navarro ended the interview by referencing “the China virus.” Trump and his allies have repeatedly used the racist phrase and others to refer to COVID-19. Throughout this year, Asian Americans have experienced a cascade of racist attacks and harassment related to the pandemic.
When Berman pointed out the surge in anti-Asian racism, Navarro replied: “We love the Chinese people. They are hardworking.”