Donald Trump on Tuesday praised a crackpot doctor whose videos containing false information on the coronavirus have been removed from social media platforms — another reminder of how attempts by Trump to moderate his tone and project an air of seriousness tend to be short-lived.
In a daily coronavirus briefing, Trump promoted a video by Stella Immanuel, whose viral video saying masks don't work to stop the spread of coronavirus and falsely stating hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment for COVID-19 have been removed from multiple social media platforms.
Public health experts say masks are a very effective tool to prevent transmission of the virus — and that hydroxychloroquine is not only ineffective at treating COVID-19 but can also cause dangerous adverse side effects."There was a — a woman who was spectacular in her statements about it, that she's had tremendous success with it," Trump said, referencing Immanuel. "And they took her — they took her voice off. I don't know why they took her off, but they took her off. Maybe they had a good reason, maybe they didn't. I don't know."
Both Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., shared the now-removed video in which Immanuel spread false coronavirus information.
Trump Jr. was even suspended from Twitter for 12 hours for sharing the video, as it violated the social media platform's policy against spreading misinformation on the virus.
After Trump praised Immanuel, CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins pointed out that not only was Immanuel's information on the virus wrong, but she's also shared bizarre medical information in the past — including that doctors are treating people with space alien DNA and that some gynecological issues are caused by women having sex with demons.
"The woman that you said is a great doctor in that video that you retweeted last night said masks don't work and there is a cure for COVID-19, both of which health experts say is not true. She's also made videos saying that doctors make medicine using DNA from aliens, and that they're trying to create a vaccine to make you immune from becoming religious," Collins said to Trump.
She went on to ask Trump what the "logic" was behind spreading false information from someone like Immanuel.
"I don't know which country she comes from, but she said that she's had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients," Trump said of Immanuel, who is Black and apparently studied medicine in Nigeria. "And I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her." (Their exchange about Immanuel begins at 25:13 in the press conference video below.) A few moments later, Trump left the press podium.
Trump's pushing of false information and praise of Immanuel comes as his aides urged Trump to restart daily coronavirus briefings in an effort to project what some in the media described as a "new tone" and help with his flailing reelection bid.
However, his behavior on Tuesday showed the risk of that strategy, as Trump has a history of pushing conspiracy theories and making questionable comments — such as the time he mused about injecting disinfectant as a treatment for the coronavirus. Injecting disinfectant is not a cure for the virus, and in fact is extremely dangerous.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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