Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for President Trump's re-election campaign, is in a war of words with CNN's Briana Keilar after chatting with her about the drug hydroxychloroquine. Trump has touted the drug, typically used to treat malaria, as a potential therapy for coronavirus patients, particularly after hearing the role it played in saving the life of Democrat Michigan state Rep. Karen Whitsett. Murtaugh noted to Keilar that even Dr. Anthony Fauci has promoted the drug as treatment for COVID-19 patients.
According to Keilar, Murtaugh "literally just made stuff up about what Dr. Fauci said" on her program.
The Trump campaign responded with Dr. Fauci's own words. As you can see, back in March, Dr. Fauci did say he would prescribe HCQ to coronavirus patients.
Just going to leave this here.— Abigail Marone (@abigailmarone) July 21, 2020
LISTEN: Dr. Fauci says he would "of course" prescribe hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus patients,
"These drugs are approved drugs for other reasons."pic.twitter.com/1yIqGNUVx4
After some research, CNN's Kyle Feldscher found one of Townhall's pieces on the subject, noting that Dr. Fauci said he'd prescribe HCQ during an interview with Townhall columnist and morning host Chris Stigall on AM 990 in Philadelphia.
"If you're a doctor listening to me right now and a patient with coronavirus feels like they want to try that," Stigall asked, "and you're their doctor, you're not Anthony Fauci the guy running the coronavirus task force, would you say 'alright, we'll give it a whirl'?"
"Yeah, of course, particularly if people have no other option," Fauci said. "These drugs are approved drugs for other reasons. They're anti-malaria drugs, and they're drugs against certain autoimmune diseases like lupus. Physicians throughout the country can prescribe that in an off-label way. Which means they can write it for something it was not approved for."
Yet Feldscher added that it was "important to note that this is BEFORE multiple studies showed the drug isn't effective in treating Covid."
Murtaugh answered with a link to a CNN piece touting the effectiveness of HCQ. As their headline noted, the drug "helped Covid-19 patients better survive in the hospital."
Dr. Fauci isn't the only physician who has suggested that HCQ could be a factor in coronavirus recovery. In an international survey conducted in March, thousands of doctors agreed that the drug is "the most effective therapy" for COVID-19 patients.