The doctors featured in a viral video that was amplified by President Donald Trump and his son but later removed by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, are members of a group called America’s Frontline Doctors, which took part in an event organized by Tea Party Patriots Action, a dark money group that has helped fund a pro-Trump political action committee.
In the video, Dr. Stella Immanuel, a physician from Houston whom Trump described as “spectacular,” promotes hydroxychloroquine as a cure for the coronavirus.
Scientific studies have shown hydroxychloroquine can do more harm than good when used to treat symptoms of COVID-19. Immanuel studies alien DNA and cysts created by sex with demon and witches.
“I think they’re very respected doctors,” Trump said. “There was a woman who was spectacular in her statements about it.”
Immanuel claims to have successfully treated 350 people “and counting,” including older patients and some with underlying medical conditions.
“You don’t need masks, there is a cure,” Immanuel says in the video. But in videos posted to her Facebook page, Immanuel regularly wears masks while preaching during religious events.
When CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins asked the president directly about Immanuel’s claims that some medicine is made from alien DNA, Trump flinched.
“I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her,” Trump said of Immanuel, not only sidestepping questions about her history of dubious medical claims, but ending the news conference when pressed.
“The woman that you said is a ‘great doctor’ in that video that you retweeted last night said that masks don’t work and there’s a cure for COVID-19, both of which 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 make a vaccine to make you immune from becoming religious. So, what’s the logic in retweeting that?” Collins asked.
Immanuel thanked The Daily Beast on Twitter for their report on her work “exposing incubus and succubus” and included her claim “that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.”
Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., and others shared video of the event featuring Immanuel on Facebook and Twitter, prompting both companies to step in and remove the content as part of an aggressive push to keep the sites free of potentially harmful information about the virus — though not before more than 17 million people had seen one version of the video circulating on the web.
The decision to remove the videos sparked conservative claims of “censorship,” with Simone Gold, one of the doctors, tweeting that “there are always opposing views in medicine.”
“Treatment options for COVID-19 should be debated, and spoken about among our colleagues in the medical field,” she wrote. “They should never, however, be censored and silenced.”
Others stressed the differences between medical opinion and peer-reviewed scientific studies.
Many high-quality studies have found no evidence that hydroxychloroquine, when used with or without the antibiotic azithromycin, as touted many times by Trump, helps treat coronavirus infection or prevent serious disease from it. They include studies commissioned by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and universities in the U.S. and around the world.
Because of the lack of benefit and the risks of serious side effects such as heart rhythm problems, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently revoked its brief authorization of emergency use of the drug for COVID-19. NIH treatment guidelines also specifically recommend against hydroxychloroquine’s use, except in formal studies.
More than 4 million people in the U.S. have been infected by the coronavirus and the death toll is nearing 150,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.