Ever since President Trump endorsed the use of an anti-malaria drug to treat COVID-19 patients, the media has been on a "jihad" against it, according to Attorney General William Barr.
Touted as a "game changer" by President Trump, hydroxychloroquine - a treatment whose epidemiological ancestor is derived from the bark of a South American tree and used for centuries by indigenous Peruvians to treat fever - has been used by doctors around the world to treat coronavirus patients with stunning efficacy reported when combined with zinc and azithromycin (Z-Pac).
During a Wednesday evening interview with Fox News's Laura Ingraham, Barr says the media was "fair and balanced" about the drug's efficacy until Trump "said something positive about it," after which "the media has been on a jihad to discredit the drug."
"It's quite strange," he added. "The stridency of the partisan attacks on him has gotten higher and higher, and it’s gotten disappointing to see."
Barr says he’s disappointed about partisanship during the pandemic because the President has acted statesmanlike and worked with all the governors while dealing with gotcha questions from the media. He goes on to accuse the media of leading a jihad against Hydroxychloroquine pic.twitter.com/fW2NLDOzB7— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 9, 2020
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The attorney general also praised Trump's handling of the pandemic, labeling his efforts early on as "statesmanlike," while accusing the White House press corps of asking "snarky gotcha questions."
The president began touting the drug last month after a flawed study conducted in France showed promising results. His first reference to the drug came a day after the results of the study were aired on Fox News.
At a White House coronavirus task force briefing last weekend, Trump announced the administration had purchased "a tremendous amount" of hydroxychloroquine, which will be distributed to the states after the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency approval for its use among coronavirus patients.
Late last month, the Kingom of Bahrain reported that the use of hydroxychloroquine had made a "profound" impact on patient outcomes, according to the Bahrain News Agency - echoing reported results in China, South Korea and Belgium.
In Brussels, meanwhile, similar early success has been reported and the country has begun longer-term clinical trials on its efficacy to treat COVID-19 patients.