Biden slams Trump for promoting false COVID-19 claims from 'crazy woman'

Trump called Dr. Stella Immanuel, who claims to have effectively treated COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine, an “important voice.”
Image: Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Makes Economic Address In Wilmington, Delaware
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the William Hicks Anderson Community Center, on July 28, 2020 in Wilmington, Del.Mark Makela / Getty Images

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By Adam Edelman

Joe Biden on Wednesday excoriated President Donald Trump for promoting on Twitter the dubious claims of Dr. Stella Immanuel, the Houston doctor who’s claimed to have effectively treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine, who the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee called a “crazy woman.”

In a virtual event with the UnidosUS Action Fund, a nonprofit advocating for Latino political power, Biden was asked to respond to Trump having repeatedly pushed for public schools to reopen this fall without putting into place effective measures to keep teachers and students safe.

Biden replied that Trump should “stop tweeting and start doing something about it, damn it” and “stop talking about this crazy woman he talked about last night, who's an absolute disgrace.”

Biden’s dig appeared to be in reference to Immanuel, whom Trump on Tuesday night called “very impressive” and an “important voice.”

Trump on Tuesday had retweeted a clip of a video showing Immanuel saying, without providing any evidence, at an event in front of the U.S. Capitol that the coronavirus could be cured and that widely accepted efforts to slow its spread were unnecessary and dangerous.

In the video, Immanuel, a licensed pediatrician from Houston, claims to have effectively treated 350 COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine out of her medical clinic, but declined to provide data. She also, in the video, refers to doctors who declined to treat patients with hydroxychloroquine as "good Nazis" and "fake doctors," and called published research "fake science."

Twitter soon after removed the tweet and replaced it with a gray box that says, "This Tweet is no longer available." Later Tuesday Twitter said "Tweets with the video are in violation of our COVID-19 misinformation policy."

The FDA has warned against using hydroxychloroquine — a drug commonly used to treat malaria — to treat COVID-19, citing serious health effects and the conclusions from randomized clinical trials that have shown little benefit from the treatment. Trump said in May that he was taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent contracting the virus, and stood by his comments on the drug at a press briefing later Tuesday, telling reporters "I happen to believe in it."

Meanwhile, Biden, at his virtual event Wednesday, also touted his newly released plan to combat racial inequality in the United States by providing assistance to minority small-business owners and making housing more affordable for families of color.

“The future of America,” Biden said, “depends upon the total, full and thorough integration, acceptance and embrace of the Latino community.”

His event with UnidosUS, which endorsed his presidential bid on Wednesday, came as his campaign released another Spanish-language ad that will be playing in numerous TV markets and across digital in the battleground states of Florida and Arizona.

Marianna Sotomayor contributed.