White House trade adviser Peter Navarro appeared on CNN on Tuesday morning for yet another off-the-rails interview, this time devoting much of his energy to promoting anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine following a disputed new study finding some efficacy in treating the coronavirus.
Last week, in the wake of the Food and Drug Administration revoking the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine due to serious safety issues and lack of benefit for COVID-19 patients, a Michigan study found the Trump-touted drug helped patients weather the virus. The findings, however, were quickly disputed by other experts, who noted that the study excluded a large number of patients who hadn’t yet been discharged from the hospital.
Appearing on CNN’s New Day, Navarro quickly brushed off a series of questions from anchor John Berman about the rapid surge of new coronavirus cases in several states, immediately hyping hydroxychloroquine as a game-changer that can greatly reduce mortality rates.
Navarro would go on to claim that the reason the United States is experiencing rising cases is because of high asymptomatic spread, ignoring the rising hospitalizations and the fact that other developed countries are experiencing rapid decreases in confirmed cases. At the same time, the Trump aide kept referring to the disease as the “China virus” while pivoting to his favorite malaria drug.
“Peter, I promise to get to hydroxychloroquine,” Berman noted at one point, attempting to question Navarro about mask-wearing.
“Look, you guys beat that one to death and I won’t get involved in that,” Navarro griped over a question about the president publicly wearing a mask, accusing CNN of making a “meme” out of it.
Navarro, in between attempts to inject hydroxychloroquine into the conversation, also advised against additional lockdowns to stem the spread of the virus, warning that more stay-at-home orders will cause people to “die from alcoholism and depression.”
Berman eventually got to the study of the controversial drug, prompting Navarro to explicitly call for the FDA to reverse its stance on hydroxychloroquine’s emergency use as a COVID-19 treatment. The CNN anchor, meanwhile, pointed out that this study was double-blinded and randomized, the gold standard in clinical trials.
“Give peace a chance, give hydroxy a chance,” Navarro shot back.
The lengthy conversation would careen to a wild ending when Berman attempted to confront Navarro on the president’s tweet attacking NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, who is Black, and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s refusal to address Trump’s position on Confederate flags.
Claiming it wasn’t his “lane” as he’s “not a surrogate,” Navarro went on to say that he doesn’t “see race” because he is from California. He then shared a story from his youth that shaped his current racial views.
“My awakening on the race issue was when I was eight years old in a Woolworth’s store in West Palm Beach, Florida, when I walked over and I took a drink from the colored water fountain because I wanted to see colored water,” he said. “And this woman came up to me and just gently said, ‘You can’t drink from that.’ I go, ‘Why?’ She says, ‘That’s for colored people.’ I’m 8 years old and that didn’t make sense to me. I’m a Californian, we don’t see race out there.”