House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacted to news that President Donald Trump is taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against the coronavirus by describing him as “morbidly obese.”
In an appearance Monday evening on CNN, the California Democrat was asked about Trump’s announcement that he has been taking the drug for about a week and a half.
“As far as the president is concerned, he’s our president and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say. So, I think it’s not a good idea,” Pelosi told host Anderson Cooper.
Apparently unfazed, Cooper did not ask a follow-up question.
The speaker’s description of Trump, surely intended to needle her political rival, was inaccurate.
According to the body mass index calculator provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the president’s BMI is 30.4, which puts him in the “overweight to moderately obese” category.
The president would have to gain another 77 pounds, or have a BMI of 40, to be considered “morbidly obese,” as Pelosi asserted.
The use of the BMI scale to evaluate a person’s level of health has also come under scrutiny in recent years.
Many on social media were quick to point to the barb from Pelosi as a hit below the belt — one that would bring outrage if the target were someone else.
Nancy Pelosi called President Trump morbidly obese on CNN. Democrats and CNN love it. Imagine if Trump called Stacey Abrams morbidly obese. They’d all call him a racist fat shaming jerk. All we’d hear about for a month is body positivity. Total hypocrites. pic.twitter.com/7TmVeZxazL
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) May 19, 2020
Stacey Abrams is morbidly obese.
…we’re allowed to do this now, right?
— Sara Gonzales (@SaraGonzalesTX) May 19, 2020
— Brandon Straka (@BrandonStraka) May 19, 2020
The speaker made the comment just hours after Trump told reporters at the White House that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine after consulting with the White House physician.
The president was meeting with a group of restaurant owners when he revealed he had been taking the drug.
“You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers — before you catch it,” he said, according to a White House transcript of the comments.
“The frontline workers — many, many are taking it. I happen to be taking it,” he added. “I’m taking it — hydroxychloroquine.”
After being asked if he was taking the drug under the recommendation of a doctor, Trump said he had consulted with a physician.
BREAKING: President Trump says he has been taking Hydroxychloroquine.
“You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it… I happen to be taking it.” pic.twitter.com/DMW0i145OF
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) May 18, 2020
“Yeah. A White House doctor — didn’t recommend — no, I asked him, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘Well, if you’d like it.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’d like it. I’d like to take it.'”
“After numerous discussions he and I had for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks,” the doctor said.
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