President calls negative hydroxychloroquine study 'a Trump enemy statement' – as it happened

By Maanvi Singh in Oakland, and Joan E Greve in Washington and Martin Pengelly in New York



  • Donald Trump signed an executive order encouraging agencies to rollback regulations. “Agencies must continue to remove barriers to the greatest engine of economic prosperity the world has ever known: the innovation, initiative, and drive of the American people,” the order states.
  • The Senate confirmed a Trump appointee to the Federal Elections Committee, giving the agency the four votes needed to regulate federal election campaign finance laws. Trey Trainor, the conservative Texas lawyer who as confirmed to the seat has pushed for less regulation of money in politics.
  • Member states backed the WHO after another attack from Trump, calling for a global show of support. A resolution that backed the WHO’s leadership and said there would be an investigation into the global response to the pandemic, but did not endorse a major overhaul, as Trump requested.
  • The president criticized a negative hydroxychloroquine study as a “Trump enemy statement”. A preliminary study of coronavirus patients at US veterans health administration medical centers found that showed those treated with the anti-malaria drug, which Trump has repeatedly promoted, had a higher risk of death.
  • The US vice-president, Mike Pence, said he is not taking hydroxychloroquine. Pence’s admission came one day after Trump told reporters he has been taking the drug in recent days, despite the Food and Drug Administration’s guidance that it should only be used in hospital settings.
  • Trump lashed out against Nancy Pelosi after the House speaker described the president as “morbidly obese”. Pelosi said she did not think Trump should be taking hydroxychloroquine, particularly considering his age and weight. “Pelosi is a sick woman,” Trump said in response. “She’s got a lot of problems, a lot of mental problems.”
  • The treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and the Fed chairman, Jerome Powell, virtually testified before the Senate banking committee. Mnuchin warned that an extended shutdown could potentially cause “permanent damage” to the US economy, while Powell suggested Congress may need to approve additional relief funding.
  • New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, issued some thinly veiled criticism of Trump. “You’re not going to tweet your way through this,” Cuomo said during his daily briefing.



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Who is Sean Conley, the doctor gave Donald Trump hydoxychloroquine?

Conley is US navy veteran and is qualified in osteopathic medicine.

Conley, who is from Pennsylvania, graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2006 and went on to undertake a medical residency at a navy base in Virginia. He was then deployed to Afghanistan, where he acted as head of a trauma unit at a Nato base.

The medical unit at the White House is typically staffed by doctors drawn from the US military and Conley found himself in line to become the president’s own physician after the departure of Ronny Jackson, who had previously raised eyebrows by praising Trump’s “good genes” and for saying that if the president had had “a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old”.

Jackson had also sparked a short-lived “girther” conspiracy movement after reporting Trump’s weight as 239lb, just 1lb below a threshold that would class the president as obese. Trump sleeps just four or five hours a night, doesn’t exercise outside rounds of golf and is fond of McDonald’s but is fit enough for a second term, Jackson reported in 2018.








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Donald Trump has reignited a controversy over the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine after telling reporters he was taking the latter to protect himself against coronavirus. What do we know about these drugs?

What is hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine, which Trump says he has been taking for about two weeks, was developed as an antimalarial but it is also used to treat conditions like lupus, an anti-immune disease, and arthritis, where it can help combat inflammation. It has been licensed for use in the US since the mid 1950s and is listed by the World Health Organization as an “essential” medicine.

What’s the state of the current evidence?

In May, the British Medical Journal reported on a randomised (although still problematic) clinical trial in China that found little evidence hydroxychloroquine worked, with serious adverse events noted in two patients.

A second study reported in the BMJ last week on a French trial also concluded that hydroxychloroquine does not significantly reduce admission to intensive care or improve survival rates in patients hospitalised with pneumonia owing to Covid-19. Overall, 89% of those who received hydroxychloroquine survived after 21 days, compared with 91% in the control group.

The US Food and Drug Administration in a safety alert issued on 24 April warned that it had received reports that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine could have serious side-effects and that the drugs should be taken only under the close supervision of a doctor in a hospital setting or a clinical trial.

What are the risks in taking hydroxychloroquine?

There are a number of side-effects. The most serious is that it can interfere with the rhythm of the heart. Other side-effects include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, skin rash or itching or hair loss. Research published by the Mayo Clinic has suggested that “off-label” repurposing of drugs such as hydroxychloroquine could lead to “drug-induced sudden cardiac death”.

Although Trump’s official physician has said he was in “very good health” at his last official checkup, the president is 73 and his recorded weight would put him in a BMI category of “clinically obese”.



Today so far


Trump falsely claims hydroxychloroquine 'doesn't harm you'



Senate minority leader takes issue with inaction on coronavirus crisis, rails as president challenges “Trump enemy statement” on hydroxychloroquine.

The frustration vibrates off the screen. Here’s New York Democrat and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer railing at Trump goings on on Capitol Hill this afternoon.

Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer)

President Trump came to the Republican caucus lunch in the Senate.

They had a giant pep rally, and got all fired up to do nothing on the COVID-19 crisis.

May 19, 2020

Trump wants to talk about hydroxychloroquine and how a recent, large study that showed dubious benefits and plenty of dangers in relation to Covid-19 patients and anyone taking it as a prophylactic must be down to bias against him. Schumer wants to talk about something else.

Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer)

Senator McConnell:Stop listening to President Trump and his wild theoriesListen to the American peoplePeople are sick and dying. People are unemployed. More people are losing their jobs. More lines at food pantries. More small businesses are in jeopardy.

We need action now

May 19, 2020

This study: