Washington (AFP) – Only days after proclaiming a sober new tone on the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump reverted to spreading misleading medical information, criticizing his top expert and promoting conspiracy theories.
Twitter took the rare step of removing clips tweeted by Trump from a video earlier deleted by Facebook in which a group of doctors tells Americans that masks are unnecessary and that hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, can cure the COVID-19 virus.
Twitter said Tuesday that tweeting the video was “in violation of our COVID-19 misinformation policy.”
Twitter also blocked Trump’s son Don Jr — a major player in the president’s struggling reelection campaign — from tweeting for 12 hours after he uploaded a version of the video.
At the center of the group speaking on the video is a doctor named Stella Immanuel, who doubles as a right-wing preacher who believes in witches.
The physician, who calls herself “God’s battle axe,” claims in the video that “the virus has a cure” in hydroxychloroquine.
This is false. There is currently no cure for the coronavirus, which has spread around the world and already killed nearly 150,000 Americans, wreaking havoc in the world’s largest economy.
A majority of medical authorities now have also decided, after some initial debate, that hydroxychloroquine in particular has no proven benefit for coronavirus patients and can be harmful. The US Food and Drug Administration revoked emergency authorization for its use in June.
Trump, however, has persistently pushed the notion of hydroxychloroquine as an answer to the crisis and says he took the drug for two weeks as a precaution.
– Anti-Fauci rants –
In his Twitter spree late Monday, the president also retweeted a growing right-wing conspiracy theory that the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, Doctor Anthony Fauci, helped push coronavirus to hurt Trump’s reelection in November.
The tweet, shared by Trump to his 84 million followers, claimed that Immanuel is highlighting “what should be the biggest scandal in modern American history.”