White House doctor prescribed hydroxychloroquine for Trump, McEnany says

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBubba Wallace to be driver of Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin NASCAR team Graham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE's physician prescribed hydroxychloroquine for him as a preventative measure against the coronavirus, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed Wednesday amid criticism and questions about whether Trump is actually taking the drug.

"Yes, the doctor did prescribe it for him. And he took it after having several discussions with Dr. [Sean] Conley about its efficacy," McEnany told David Brody of CBN News.

McEnany's comments came two days after the White House released a brief letter from Conley that said he and Trump had determined the benefits of taking the anti-malaria drug prophylactically to guard against COVID-19 outweighed the risks. But the letter did not explicitly state that the doctor had prescribed hydroxychloroquine, nor did it include information about Trump's dosage.

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Trump told reporters on Monday that he had started taking hydroxychloroquine after championing it as a potential treatment for the coronavirus despite limited evidence from the medical community. The president said at the time that he had asked his doctor about taking it but that it was not explicitly recommended for him.

"I asked him, 'What do you think?'" Trump said, recalling the conversation. "He said, 'Well if you’d like it.' I said, 'Yeah, I’d like it. I’d like to take it.'"

Though Trump and some media figures have touted the drug's potential use in preventing or treating the coronavirus, studies have shown it has had limited efficacy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning last month that hydroxychloroquine should not be taken outside of a hospital or clinical trial because of the risk of severe heart rhythm problems.

McEnany has in recent days defended the president's decision to take the drug while at the same time attempting to make clear that average Americans should not do the same without a prescription from their doctor.

She connected the ingestion of hydroxychloroquine to the "right to try" legislation Trump signed in 2018 that allows terminally ill patients access to experimental medical treatments not yet approved by the FDA.

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"So you know, you do have a right to try it, in essence, to reflect on the language of the president's previous legislation that gives people the right to try and the waning days of their life or when they're facing a fatal illness," she said.

McEnany accused the media of "fear-mongering" and said the press "all to often" leaves the "nuances" of the drug's safety and risks out of its coverage of Trump's decision to take hydroxychloroquine.

"No one should be taking this drug if not prescribed by a doctor, it's very important to say that. Only your doctor can say that this is for you and prescribe it to you," McEnany told CBN News. "But nevertheless, to completely act as if this is some sort of poison when there are many, many Americans and many people around the world taking this for Lupus and other illnesses, it just does more harm than good."