- The Washington Times
Thursday, April 23, 2020

Michigan Democrats reportedly plan to censure a state lawmaker who met with President Trump and expressed support and thanks to him and his administration for their endorsement of hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment.

State Rep. Karen Whitsett faces a censure vote Saturday from party leaders who insist that she reports to them, according to a report Thursday in The Detroit News.

“At the end of the day, we have political systems, we have political parties and political parties exist for a reason,” Jonathan Kinloch, the chairman of the Democratic Party Organization in Michigan’s 13th U.S. Congressional District told the newspaper.

“They do not belong to themselves. They belong to the members and precinct delegates of the Democratic Party,” Mr. Kinloch said.

Such proprietary claims on an elected politician drew the scorn of Donald Trump Jr.

“What a joke,” the president’s son tweeted Thursday. “Remember folks, the narrative can only be used against Trump and if you break those rules the left will turn on their own.”

Ms. Whitsett met with the president and Vice President Mike Pence on April 14, after she had credited hydroxychloroquine with saving her life following her infection with the coronavirus.

“Thank you for everything that you have done,” Ms. Whitsett said at her Washington meeting. “I did not know that saying ‘thank you’ had a political line. I’m telling my story and my truth, and this is how I feel and these are my words.”

Mr. Trump has voiced support for the drug, though less so in recent days, noting anecdotal reports from physicians and others having success treating COVID-19 patients with it.

The medical community remains divided on whether the anti-malaria medication is effective against coronavirus or should even be prescribed for coronavirus.

One study released earlier this week found that the drug made no difference on whether would need a ventilator and even produced a slightly higher death rate.

Ms. Whitsett, who represents part of Detroit, has clashed with party leaders in the past but said she remains steadfast in her partisan affiliation.

“I will continue to fight for the city of Detroit and the people in Detroit who need it the most, and that is the black community,” she said. “I’m a Democrat and I plan on continuing to be a Democrat, but they will change their ways. I have my First Amendment rights and no one will take that away from me.”

• James Varney can be reached at jvarney@washingtontimes.com.

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