Nancy Pelosi responded to Donald Trump’s claim that he had been taking an unproven coronavirus drug, saying it is dangerous for the president to use because he is “morbidly obese.”
The House speaker made the statement during a Monday evening appearance on CNN, hours after Trump made the admission that he had been taking hydroxychloroquine, a potential coronavirus treatment that he had touted as a “game changer” but has shown mixed and sometimes dangerous results in trials. The statement was met with alarm from critics who believed it was unsafe given the untested nature of the drug, and Pelosi expressed concern for the risks.
“I would rather he not be taking that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group, and in his, shall we say, weight group: ‘morbidly obese.’ So, I think it’s not a good idea.”
As CNN reported, hydroxychloroquine is an antimalarial drug that has been studied as a potential treatment for coronavirus. However, it has yet to be proven if the drug has preventative properties. Trump — along with everyone that comes in contact with him — is currently being tested for the virus on a daily basis, per CNBC. All of Trump’s tests have come back negative.
.@SpeakerPelosi just said that Trump shouldn't take Plaquenil because he is "morbidly obese."
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) May 19, 2020
“A couple of weeks ago, I started taking it,” Trump said, adding that he had been taking it every day for a week and a half.
A study of VA patients who had been treated with hydroxychloroquine found that it had no medical benefit. Another study of the drug from Brazil had to be halted after patient deaths.
Pelosi’s statement appeared to be a dig at Trump, who has been accused of lying about his weight to conceal the fact that he would technically qualify as obese. The president sparked controversy after his 2018 physical listed him as 6 feet, 3 inches and 239 pounds, with both numbers coming under scrutiny. Many have pointed out that Trump appears to be shorter than his listed height, in particular after he stood side-by-side with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who is listed at 6 feet, 2 inches but was visibly taller than Trump.
Others noted that Trump appeared heavier than 239 pounds, which would put him just below the line for being listed as obese. A 2019 physical showed that Trump had gained four pounds and was listed at 243 pounds, but that still came under question from those who believed he was heavier than the weight listed.