Thursday, May 21, 2020

His Would Not Be The Death

On Tuesday night

“Our president is a hydroxymoron,” Jimmy Kimmel quipped on his ABC show. “It’s hard to process, but are we surprised that the guy who thought windmills cause cancer thinks a lupus drug kills coronavirus?”

Like a number of the reporters present during Monday’s event, Kimmel had the same question for Trump: Why?

“Why would he do this?” Kimmel asked. “Why would he do this to prevent coronavirus and not wear a mask to prevent the virus?”

Kimmel answered his own question, telling viewers that he had “thought about it for a long time” before coming to what he said is “the only reasonable conclusion.”

“He’s trying to kill himself,” Kimmel said. “Remember how we all said he didn’t really want to be president? He wished he was home at Mar-a-Lago playing golf and finding ways to humiliate his friends, that he’s miserable in the White House? Well, guess what: I think we were right and I think he’s had enough.”

But is President Trump really trying to kill himself, thus possibly a hydroxymoron?

It's uncertain that President Trump actually is taking the dangerous drug, though Dr. Jonathan Reiner, longtime cardiologist of Dick Cheney and frequent guest on "OutFront" with Erin Burnett, believes that he is. As Reiner explains below (and has at other times), he thinks- as a doctor- that Trump's decision is unwise.

Nonetheless, we shouldn't jump to the conclusion that taking hydroxychloroquine is as dangerous for the king as it would be for any of the king's subjects. On Friday, Reiner had noted

So it's a very interesting question and having at least peeked into that world for a while, I can tell you that it's not so easy to answer. So let's look at it another way and look I've dumped on this drug for two months now. And I know, at least, from the clinical data that it doesn't work in sick patients.

I don't know if it works or doesn't work in this setting, but this is what I know, the President has a significant exposure to COVID-19, maybe from two people, from both his valet and from Ms. Miller.

We know because he's almost 74 and he has some evidence of heart disease and he's clearly obese. We know that he has a substantial risk of dying from COVID-19, maybe somewhere between 15 percent and 20 percent. We also know that there are demonstrable risks to taking the drug, but because he's the President of the United States, because he has unparalleled access to 24/7 healthcare, on demand healthcare, basically stapled to him, his medical team can attenuate some of that risk by doing frequently EKGs, measuring is QTc interval, which is the EKG interval, which is increased by the drug and can create a problem.

The President has on-demand health care. Moreover, he can undergo an electrocardiogram, which would pick up a heart arrhythmia- the most dangerous side effect of the drug- any time he wishes.

It's likely, therefore, that if Trump suffered any complications from the hydroxychloroquine, it would be promptly discovered by his physician. At worst, he then would have to be taken to a hospital, presumably the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. You may remember Walter Reed from Trump's sudden trip there last November, for which purpose is still unknown, and which caused the President exactly zero political problems.

So if Trump suffered from ill effects of taking the drug, we might never even learn of it. However, some supporters of his, those who trust his every word, will be tempted to take the drug.  A few of them will do so, under a doctor's care or not.

Probably a few of those will die from the medication. Meanwhile, were the President to take the drug and not contract Covid-19 (and he probably wouldn't), he can tout the effectiveness of the substance, an implied rebuke to medical experts, whom many Trump acolytes already distrust or even loathe.

That's a win-win for Donald Trump, who is not trying to kill himself, and is not a "hydroxymoron." Nor is he any kind of moron- somewhat unhealthy (physically and/or mentally), ignorant, heartless, even evil, but no moron.

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