Trump lashes out at reporter after challenge on unapproved drug

Josh Wingrove and Jordan Fabian

President Donald Trump again encouraged Americans to try a malaria drug to fight coronavirus that the FDA hasn’t approved for the disease, and assailed a reporter who suggested that pushing it might spark a false sense of hope.

“I think people will be surprised,” Trump said of the drug, chloroquine, at a White House news conference on Friday. “It will be a game changer.”

NBC correspondent Peter Alexander pointed out that Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, has said there is no “magic drug” for the virus and asked whether Trump was providing a “false sense of hope.”

Trump replied: “Such a lovely question. Maybe and maybe not. It may work and it may not work,” he said. “I feel good about it.”

When Alexander then asked what Trump had to say to Americans who are “scared” by the outbreak, Trump grew angry, calling Alexander a “terrible reporter” and saying his question sent “very bad signal.”

“You ought to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism,” he said, adding that “I’ve been right a lot.”“You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” he added.

When another reporter followed up, asking again what Trump had to say to Americans worried about the virus, Trump said: “There is a very low incidence of death. You understand that,” adding that Americans who contract the disease are very likely to survive.