Attorney General Bill Barr accused the media of waging a “jihad” against hydroxychloroquine, the unproven drug touted by President Donald Trump as a treatment for coronavirus, during an interview on Fox News on Wednesday.
Barr told anchor Laura Ingraham that despite being “statesmanlike” in his response to the coronavirus crisis, Trump has had to face “snarky ‘gotcha’ questions from the White House media pool,” Newsweek reports. He added that “the stridency of the partisan attacks on [Trump] has gotten higher and higher,” and said the “politicization of decisions like the hydroxychloroquine has been amazing to me.”
“Before the president said anything about it, there was fair and balanced coverage of this very promising drug,” Barr said. “The fact that it had such a long track record, that the risks were pretty well known, and as soon as he said something positive about it, the media has been on a jihad to discredit the drug. It’s quite strange.”
Barr also referred to current social-distancing guidelines as “draconian,” and called for them to be lifted at the end of April, repeating Trump’s recent claim that “the cure cannot be worse than the disease.”
“Yes. I think they – I think they have been patient,” Barr said in response to a question about religious groups affected by social-distancing guidelines. “And I think we have to be very careful to make sure this is – you know, that the draconian measures that are being adopted are fully justified, and there are not alternative ways of protecting people. And I think, you know, when this – when this period of time is — at the end of April expires, I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have and not just tell people to go home and hide under the bed, but allow them to use other ways – social distancing and other means – to protect themselves.”
Watch the full interview below.