On Thursday, the Springfield News-Leader released a blistering fact-check of Springfield City Councilor Angela Romine, who caused a stir on Monday when she claimed that COVID-19 already has multiple cures so there's no need to get vaccinated.
"We're not prescribing a certain prescription because it's for off-label use, which could help people that are sick with COVID, and it's not being used because it was politicized... and demonized," said Romine in a speech to the council. "Right now we're trying even a vaccine that has severe side effects, but we're not willing to try a protocol that has helped people. One doctor even came out and said she's treated 900 patients and she's had zero deaths, yet we're not prescribing them here."
According to the report, she later clarified that the two drugs she meant are hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.
Hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria and arthritis, has been a popular alternative treatment for COVID-19 ever since former President Donald Trump claimed it helped him prevent the disease, and some people have even drank fish tank cleaner because it contained similar compounds.
But previous studies suggesting it could be beneficial have been discredited, noted the report: "FDA removed emergency authorization for the drug to treat COVID-19 and the organization who published the study retracted it, saying it had many methodological flaws and relied on 'Chinese sources that lacked real evidence.' Several subsequent studies on the drug found it was not effective to treat COVID-19 and could even worsen symptoms of the virus."
"Meanwhile, ivermectin is a drug primarily used on livestock to remove parasites. It is not an antiviral drug," said the report. "One study concluded it was beneficial to treat COVID, but 'the study was retracted for plagiarism and for incorrect interpretation of data,' Dr. Nancy Yoon, chief medical officer with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, told the News-Leader last week. Calling the drug 'unsafe and dangerous,' Yoon said she believed no 'doctor is recommending it to patients.'"
Even with the vaccines now available and broadly effective, some Trump allies are still trying to tout these discredited alternative treatments. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) was briefly suspended from YouTube in June for sharing conspiracy theory videos promoting hydroxychloroquine.
MSNBC's Morning Joe agrees Republicans are acting like 'morons' on masks 'to make a stupid political point'
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough ripped House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and other Republican lawmakers balking at the reinstatement of mask rules at the U.S. Capitol.
The Republican leader mocked the House physician for recommending the return of masks, prompting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to call him a "moron," and the "Morning Joe" host agreed.
"If they don't care about anybody else outside of their family, worry about their children, other people's children, their loved ones," Scarborough said, "as we had in a report earlier this week, in Alabama emergency rooms a lot more children this year than there were last year with the delta variant. I'm hearing the same thing out of Florida, emergency rooms and hospitals that the pediatric wards are finding a lot more of an impact for younger children this year than last year because of the delta variant."
Scarborough said GOP lawmakers were needlessly endangering children too young to be vaccinated to show loyalty to Donald Trump.
"There is so much at stake here, and I do expect more members, more members of the press getting angry about the fact that a lot of these jackasses are literally putting their children's lives in danger because they're trying to make a political point -- a stupid political point, but a political point all the same," he said. "It's like last year, in the middle of a pandemic that killed over 600,000 people, what was it, Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows, was making fun of -- Jake [Sherman], it may have been you -- 'You look funny in that mask.'"
Punchbowl reporter Sherman, a guest on the program, admitted he had been the target of Meadows' mockery.
"To which Jake said, 'We don't want to die,'" co-host Mika Brzezinski pointed out.
"We don't want our children to end up in the hospital," Scarborough added, "and we don't want our parents to die. This is not hard, Mika. It's not hard."
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'Bad news for Trump': Experts say DOJ's refusal to defend Mo Brooks in riot lawsuit sends a clear message
The Department of Justice's refusal to defend Republican Congressman Mo Brooks, in a lawsuit alleging he incited the Jan. 6 insurrection, spells trouble for co-defendant Donald Trump, according to experts.
Donald Ayer, who served as a a senior DOJ official in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, told Reuters: "The government's filing sends a clear message. No leader in our government is acting within the scope of his employment when he acts to subvert the free and fair election by getting people to go up and riot and interfere. The leaders who perpetrated these travesties are personally responsible for their actions."
Anne Tindall, an attorney with the advocacy group Protect Democracy, agreed the DOJ's decision is "bad news for Trump," because his official role was "even more limited" than Brooks'.
"Brooks has a role in the certification," Tindall said. "He has a vote in Congress. DOJ concluded that the conduct at issue in the litigation is not sufficiently related to his vote. Here Trump has no role at all."
In its letter to a judge Tuesday, the DOJ declined to grant Brooks immunity under the Westfall Act, which shields federal employees from being sued for their words or actions in the course of their employment. The DOJ letter was in response to a lawsuit filed by Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell. Trump also faces two separate lawsuits — one filed by two U.S. Capitol police officers, and one filed by Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson — related to his role in inciting the insurrection.
Despite the DOJ's letter, Trump attorney Jesse Binnall insisted in a statement that his client has immunity: "The Supreme Court has been clear that presidents cannot be sued for actions that are related to their duties of office. Addressing Americans about congressional action is a quintessential presidential duty."
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