WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., chastised President Donald Trump on Monday for his decision to take hydroxychloroquine, saying health experts have warned about its effects and that it could be harmful to the president because he's "morbidly obese."
"As far as the President is concerned, he's our president and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say. So, I think it's not a good idea," Pelosi said in an interview about the coronavirus with Anderson Cooper on CNN.
Pelosi's comment came after Trump said at the White House a few hours earlier that he started taking the drug after consulting with the White House physician.
"A lot of good things have come out about the hydroxy. A lot of good things have come out. You'd be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the front-line workers — before you catch it," Trump said at the White House. "I happen to be taking it...I'm taking it — hydroxychloroquine — right now."
The FDA issued a warning last month that cautioned against the use of the medicine outside of a hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems.
In 2018, the White House physician at the time, Dr. Ronny Jackson, said that Trump had an LDL cholesterol level of 143, well above the desired level of 100 or less. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta said at the time that the information indicated that Trump has a common form of heart disease. Last year, the White House said that based on Trump’s annual physical, he weighed 243 pounds, gaining four pounds from the previous year. At Trump's height of 6 feet 3 inches, his weight last year was considered obese on the body mass index scale.
In a statement late Monday, White House physician Sean P. Conley said that he had discussed the drug with Trump. "After numerous discussions he and I had for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks," Conley wrote.
Conley noted that one of Trump's staffers, a valet, tested positive for COVID-19 recently, though the president is tested daily and he said that they have all been negative.
in an interview with Steve Kornacki on MSNBC, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., suggested that the president may not be telling the truth about his use of hydroxychloroquine.
“Who knows if it's true? He may not have been taking it for all we know. He just likes to make a splash," Schumer said on Monday. "And I want to make a comment on that, Steve. What the president did with hydroxychloroquine was reckless, simply reckless."