President Donald Trump has been raising questions by his dogged endorsement of an unproven treatment for the coronavirus — and his motivations appear to be more financial than medical.
Trump admits he’s not a doctor — which, of course, he’s not — but MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and the Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson are among many wondering whether the president is trying to boost the market for the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine.
“As ‘Deep Throat’ never actually said, follow the money,” Robinson said, quoting the apocryphal advice from the undercover source who exposed Watergate.
Scarborough pointed to new revelations from the New York Times, which reported that Trump and his family had investments in a Dodge & Cox mutual fund, whose largest holding is Sanofi — the French drugmaker that produces the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine and sells it overseas.
Other Trump associates and administration officials — including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Republican donor Ken Fisher and pharmaceutical executive Chirag Patel — also have ties to companies that produce the drug.
“So two things are possible here,” Robinson said. “It is possible that Donald Trump is perfectly aware of these investments, and his potential stake in this drug, and that this is all deliberate. It’s also possible that he, he’s open to manipulation by friends and cronies, his billionaire Mar-A-Lago friends, who have these investments, and who are pushing him in this direction.”
Those dubious connections and personal motivations illustrate what makes Trump so unsuited to the presidency, Robinson said.
“You know, this is just not a man who is capable of rising to the challenge of this moment, and you see it every day,” he said.
The Commerce Department later explained that Ross was not aware the Invesco fund he previously ran had invested in companies that make the drug.
“I was not aware that Invesco has any investments in companies producing hydroxychloroquine sulfate, nor was I involved in any of these investment decisions. In any event, it has nothing to do with the part of Invesco that I formerly ran,” Ross said in a statement. “I do not have any investment in Invesco or any of those individual companies, nor do I have any involvement in the decision to explore this as a treatment for COVID-19.”