Trump disregards the studies that found hydroxychloroquine ineffective, e.g.
Trump lambasted a study that had found no benefit from hydroxychloroquine in a group of veterans with the coronavirus who were given the drug. He called it a "phony study" and said it was done by "obviously not friends of the administration" who wanted to "make political points."
The President made similar comments earlier on Tuesday, speaking of an unspecified "bad survey" that was "a Trump enemy statement." On Monday, he claimed the study at the VA was done by "people that aren't big Trump fans."
And that study seems to be only negative news about the use of this drug that Trump said he has heard:
He said the "only negative" he had heard was from a "very unscientific report" conducted by "people that aren't big Trump fans".
Also he seems to misinterpret what the FDA said (previously) about hydroxychloroquine.
Trump was reminded by a reporter on Tuesday that the FDA has said hydroxychloroquine should not be used outside of a hospital setting or research studies.
Trump interjected: "No. That's not what I was told. No."
The reporter was right. The FDA issued a safety warning on April 24 that was headlined, "FDA cautions against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems."
However, soon after that, the FDA leadership made this statement:
“The decision to take any drug is ultimately a decision between a patient and their doctor,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement to CNBC. “Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are already FDA-approved for treating malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.”
That is talking about “off-label” prescriptions, basically.
Also, the FDA's Emergency Use Authorizations for hydroxychloroquine in Covid-19 cases has come under congressional scrutiny, with Democrats and some medical experts (including two former FDA chief scientists) alleging it was made under political pressure. The FDA's current leadership denied that was the case.
As for his personal use, it was approved by the WH physician, at Trump's request:
Despite these warnings, and the fact Trump has not tested positive for Covid-19, Conley wrote a memo stating that following discussions with the president they concluded that the “potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks” of taking hydroxychloroquine.
Describing his consultation with Conley, Trump said on Monday: “I asked him ‘what do you think?’ He said ‘Well, if you’d like it.’ I said ‘Yeah, I’d like it. I’d like to take it.’”
“Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it,” the president added. “So far, I seem to be OK.”
All in all, Trump's view of this drug with respect to Covid-19 with is rosier than others'.
Besides the particular issue of why Trump promotes this particular drug (rather than e.g. Remdesivir), in general it seems Trump would promote anything that materially or just in the public-relations realm helps him reopen the country quickly, e.g.
President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign is rounding up "extremely pro-Trump" doctors to appear on television and elsewhere in the media, unpaid, in the coming months to promote the president's push to reopen the U.S. economy as quickly as possible, despite health officials' warnings that doing so could fuel another COVID-19 outbreak and cost lives.
The Associated Press first reported Tuesday that Republican political operatives raised the idea on a call with a senior member of the Trump campaign earlier this month, per a leaked recording of the conversation. The president's re-election campaign confirmed the report with PEOPLE.
The AP reports that on the leaked recording of the May 11 conference call between the Trump campaign and the conservative advocacy group CNP Action, Nancy Schulze, a Republican political activist, said, "There is a coalition of doctors who are extremely pro-Trump that have been preparing and coming together for the war ahead in the campaign on health care."
"And we have doctors that are … in the trenches, that are saying ‘It’s time to reopen.’ ”
So yeah, expect more "Obama doctors" vs "Trump doctors" (like with the judges) whether explicitly framed like that or not.
Also, by now this drug has become part of the right-wing lore (at least) across the Americas. The AAPS--a non-mainstream (from a medical perspective) association of conservative US physicians--has promoted it. Bolsonaro has promoted it, and had a post on that taken down by Facebook etc. (Uunsurprisingly, a tweet of Rudy Giuliani on this topic was also taken down.) Likewise the drug was promoted by Fox News prime talents like Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity (at least back in April). A quantitative analysis of the US media mentions of the drug during that time frame found that the right-wing media had mentioned the drug 11 times more often than their left-wing counterparts. In summary:
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro neatly sums up how thoroughly politics has hijacked the debate over using malaria drugs against the new coronavirus: "Right-wingers take chloroquine."
So it shouldn't be too surprising that Trump (says he) hears only good news about it.
(Meanwhile Trump's "enemies" keep at it publishing another "negative" observational study, the largest so far [96,000 patients, 15,000 on the H/CQ arm]. And Brazil's newly appointed health minister approves expanded use of the drug.)