President Donald Trump on Tuesday met with the Democratic state lawmaker from Michigan who credited him with saving her life after she contracted COVID-19.
Earlier this month, state Rep. Karen Whitsett publicly thanked the president for touting the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for the infectious disease, an action she said saved her life. And during a meeting at the White House, she had the chance to thank the president in person.
“I did not know that saying ‘thank you’ had a political line. I didn’t know that,” Whitsett said. “I thought just saying ‘thank you’ meant ‘thank you.’ And I do. I sincerely appreciate that, because had you not brought [hydroxychloroquine to the forefront], I wouldn’t be here today.”
Whitsett, who suffers from chronic Lyme disease, describe to the president how her “nightmare” experience with the coronavirus came suddenly and aggressively.
“The breathing is what scared me the most,” she recalled, according to a transcript of the meeting. “I went from 0 to 100. It was from getting tested that day on March 31st to trying to do a few things around the house, to just all of the sudden my breathing became labored.
“I was afraid — I was afraid for my life,” she said noting that the surrounding hospitals were full and unable to take her in for treatment. “I honestly felt like I was going to die.
“I’m telling my story,” she added. “I’m not telling anyone else’s story. I’m not telling anyone else what to do. I’m telling my story and my truth, and this is how I feel and these are my words.”
At one point during the meeting, Whitsett said, “it was either the medication or die.”
President Trump has been supportive of using the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat and prevent COVID-19 despite warnings from some health officials that evidence of its effectiveness is anecdotal.
Late last month, Trump called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fast-track the drug for use against COVID-19 after three separate studies found it to be potentially effective against the virus. The FDA has advised against taking any form of the drug unless it has been prescribed by a doctor.
In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, despite initially threatening physicians for prescribing it, has since requested an emergency supply of the drug for her state — a move that Whitsett said she is happy about.
Here’s video of the White House meeting:
Watch: Trump Holds Meeting With Recovered Coronavirus Patients