The Patient

By Susan Estrich

May 21, 2020 5 min read

He is 73 years old. At his checkup last year, he weighed 243 pounds. Obese — that's the medical definition.

And he has been reported to be taking drugs to control his cholesterol and prevent a heart attack. Obesity and heart problems are among the "high-risk" indicators for serious COVID-19 illness.

But who cares? Those rules just apply to us regular folk, not Super Don.

President Donald Trump, unlike all previous presidents, is above the law and immune to the threats that have killed nearly 100,000 Americans. In press conferences, he hands over mikes without even considering that he may be handing over a murder weapon, or noticing that he is one of the only ones not wearing a mask.

All of which wouldn't matter so much if he weren't the president of the United States and an international joke. A joke, a fool and the world's laughing stock is bad enough; a murderer is much worse.

In March, Dumb Don announced — embraced — a "gamechanger" for curing COVID: hydroxychloroquine. His administration encouraged companies to fast-track their production, even as the supplies for those who needed it for their arthritis dwindled.

More important, scientific studies uniformly failed: The game changer did not change the game. So it was particularly astonishing when the president announced on Monday that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine every day, ignoring the scientific evidence: "All I can tell you is so far I seem to be OK. I get a lot of tremendously positive news on the hydroxy, and I say, hey, ... what do you have to lose?"

The positive news Trump says he is getting can only be anecdotal, not scientific. The reason prescription medicines must undergo strict testing and contain specific warnings is because you have a great deal to lose by taking "hydroxy."

"In fact, there are serious hazards," according to Dr. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic. Even Dr. Manny Alvarez, the senior Managing Editor for Fox News' health news, no less, said on the air that the president's statement was "highly irresponsible" and asked what had changed since the studies showed the drug had no benefits.

Less than a month ago, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that Don's favorite drug could cause life-threatening arrhythmia if used on coronavirus patients and should only be administered in a hospital or in clinical trials. Indeed, according to Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, "There are no data to support that, there's no evidence and in fact there is no compelling evidence to support its use at all at this point."

This was not Trump's stupidest idea. That title goes to the suggestion that injecting disinfectants — like Clorox or Lysol — into the body would help combat the virus. Immediately after, the makers of Clorox and Lysol, responding to a flood of calls, took to pleading with Americans to ignore the president's advice.

None of this should be surprising. After all, Dumb Donald, unlike every other person on the globe, doesn't need to wear a mask and doesn't need to practice social distancing, even though his valet and two aides have already tested positive.

He's Donald The INVINCIBLE Trump. And before becoming president, he was one of those who alleged, with no scientific support whatsoever, that vaccines cause autism, based on a study that has since been rescinded and whose researcher has since had his medical license revoked.

It gets worse. In addition to the criticism he received from what seems like every cardiologist in the country (not a one supporting him), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took issue with the president for setting a terrible example that could cause even more deaths for the nation. The president responded: "Pelosi is a sick woman. She's got a lot of problems, a lot of mental problems." Of course, this is the same Dumb Don who has said that Rep. Adam Schiff is a "sick man," that the media is "very dangerous and sick" and, of course, that Hillary Clinton "could actually be crazy."

Using mental illness as a way to demonize his political enemies demonizes the millions of Americans who struggle every day dealing with mental illness. They fight hard to deal with their issues, whereas with Trump, displays of instability and utter ignorance are now a daily occurrence. If he's going to talk about mental illness, he might do well to look in the mirror. And as for COVID, more Americans will die because of his irresponsible rejection of science in favor of his "gut."

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: Wokandapix at Pixabay

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Susan Estrich
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