Donald Trump doubled down on his decision to retweet a video of Houston doctor Stella Immanuel in which Ms Immanuel touts the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating patients of Covid-19 and dismisses masks as unnecessary in stopping its spread.
In the past, Ms Immanuel has made several dubious medical claims, including:
the harmful effects of having sexual relations with demons and witches while dreaming;
the alleged use of alien DNA in various medicines;
and the production of a vaccine to inoculate people against being religious.
"I can tell you this: She was on air, along with many other doctors —they were big fans of hydroxychloroquine, and I thought she was very impressive," Mr Trump told reporters of Ms Immanuel at a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday.
"I don't know which country she comes from. But she said that she's had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients. And I thought her voice was an important voice. But I know nothing about her," the president said of the Houston-based doctor.
In a speech on the steps of the Supreme Court that has gone viral in conservatives circles this week —racking up millions of views across several social media platforms, many of which have since sought to remove videos of it — Ms Immanuel urged people not to be afraid of Covid-19, which has killed nearly 150,000 Americans in less than half a year.
“Nobody needs to get sick,” Ms Immanuel said at a demonstration put on by Tea Party Patriots, a conservative political advocacy group supported by wealthy Republicans.
“This virus has a cure,” she said.
Health experts have warned against the potentially severe side effects of taking the drug, which Mr Trump has nevertheless continued to promote to treat the novel coronavirus, claiming to have taken it himself as a precautionary step.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked emergency authorisation of its use earlier this month.
In addition to her speech on hydroxychloroquine, Ms Immanuel has frequently used her platform on YouTube to spread homophobic and anti-transgender views, protesting against the legalisation of gay marriage and abortion in the US.
“How long are we going to allow the enemy to take over our beloved nation. How long are we going to allow the gay agenda, secular humanism, Illuminati and the demonic New World Order to destroy our homes, families and the social fibre of America,” the caption of one of her videos reads.
Mr Trump retweeted a post including the now-deleted video of Ms Immanuel's speech about Covid-19 with a caption referring to the doctor as a “fearless warrior for the truth”.
Twitter suspended the account of his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, for retweeting a version of the video and saying it was a “must watch”.
Twitter later said it had suspended Mr Trump Jr's account because he had posted “misleading and potentially harmful information” about the coronavirus.
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