He hears about the controversial anti-malarial drug on the phone from friends in New York, including from his personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani. He hears about it in White House meetings from some advisers eager to please the boss, who share anecdotes of the drug working on covid-19 patients. And he hears about it on television, from physicians on Fox News Channel panels who tout its efficacy.
In fact, Fox host Laura Ingraham and two doctors who are regular on-air guests in what she dubs her “medical cabinet” visited the White House last Friday for a private meeting with Trump to talk up the drug, according to two White House officials and another person familiar with the meeting.
The action came after Trump met with Ingraham, who has been enthusiastically promoting hydroxychloroquine on her 10 p.m. Fox News show. She brought along two guests of her program — Ramin Oskoui, a Washington-based cardiologist, and Stephen Smith, a New Jersey-based infectious disease specialist — and Trump asked that FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn attend as well.
Smith made a detailed presentation to Trump about his view on treatment, putting an emphasis on the benefits of hydroxychloroquine based on his own experiences and studies, according to two White House officials and a person familiar with the meeting.
Trump listened intently, they said, and emerged from that meeting seemingly determined to advocate for hydroxychloroquine to be more widely used.