Dem Lawmaker: Hydroxychloriquine Needs to Be Readily Available to Everyone in Detroit

By Melanie Arter | April 14, 2020 | 9:58pm EDT
(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Michigan State Rep. Karen Whitsett, a Democrat, thanked President Donald Trump in person Tuesday for recommending the use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloriquine to treat the coronavirus - a recommendation she says saved her life.

Whitsett was among a group of coronavirus survivors who shared their personal testimonies at the White House. She attended the event with her husband, Jason.

“It is such an honor to be here, and such an honor to be here amongst all you survivors. I just can't say how wonderful it is to see your face, and thank you for everything you have done. I did not know that saying thank you had a political line. I didn't know that,” Whitsett said.

“Had you not brought this to the forefront of -- the HQ -- of being able to put this out here, I wouldn't be able to have this conversation with you, and to be able to talk about the needs of Detroit and talk about the people who really need this, and they need help, and you’re here to address that, and I sincerely appreciate that, from the both of you, from the bottom of my heart, from the people of my city,” she said.

Whitsett said she lost several family members to the coronavirus “all in one household.” Whitsett praised her physician, Dr. Mohammed A. Arsiwala, for prescribing the hydroxychloriquine that saved her life and the lives of her surviving family members who contracted it as well. 

WHITSETT: And he has taken care of my family as well.  And I’ve lost several family members to COVID all in one household. My cousin, Cheryl Fowler, was in ICU. She lost her husband.  He was turned away from numerous hospital, as was she, over four times, and within six hours, she lost her father-in-law, who was turned away numerous times. Her whole family had to be tested, which are seven family members. And of those seven family members, she’s had three of those test positive, and that is her children that have tested positive.
TRUMP: How are they doing? How are they doing?
WHITSETT: Thanks to Dr. Arsiwala and what you have done, they’re doing great, but it can’t be just --
TRUMP: So they took the hydroxy then?
WHITSETT:  Yes, they did, but it can’t be just based on my name and your name. It needs to be something that’s readily available to everyone in the city of Detroit.
TRUMP:  Well, I hear that the governor has gone all out for it, from being totally opposed to it.  Now she’s all out for it. So that’s what I’m hearing. So that’s a good thing. I think it’s a good thing.


The president predicted that Whitsett’s political career will improve, and he said that he might have to “cross party lines” to work with her.


TRUMP: I have a feeling she’s going to go very much up. She’s a good representative right now, but I have a feeling, politically -- do you have any further political ambitions, do you think?
WHITSETT:  I actually did not even aspire to be a state representative, to be perfectly honest.  So --
TRUMP: I don't know, I may have to cross party lines. I may have to work with her and cross party lines.  


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