Government

Democrats hit Miller-Meeks over COVID-19 hydroxychloroquine treatment Trump touted

Republican's campaign calls attack 'heartless'

A new Democratic ad faults Mariannette Miller-Meeks (above), the Republican candidate in Iowa's 2nd Congressional Distri
A new Democratic ad faults Mariannette Miller-Meeks (above), the Republican candidate in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, for endorsing the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. Miller-Meeks, a doctor, posted the endorsement — since taken down — the day after it was touted by President Donald Trump.

Democrats are launching a limited ad campaign telling Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks to “stop putting Iowans’ lives at risk” by recommending a COVID-19 treatment the FDA now warns against.

The 50-second YouTube ad by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee includes clips from various news reports on the FDA rescinding authorization for the use of hydroxychloroquine in treatment of COVID-19 because of the risks and lack of benefits.

It will target swing voters in the 24-county 2nd District that includes Johnson and Scott counties. The district is represented by U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, who is retiring and not seeking reelection. Rita Hart of Wheatland, a former state senator, is the Democratic nominee.

In a since deleted March 22 social media post, Miller-Meeks, a physician and state senator from Ottumwa, said that if she contracted COVID-19, she would want to be placed on a treatment of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.

That was posted a day after President Donald Trump said hydroxychloroquine was “a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”

“Iowans deserve to know that in the middle of a global pandemic, Mariannette Miller-Meeks recklessly touted a drug that scientific evidence shows caused even more death in coronavirus patients,” said Brooke Goren of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “If Miller-Meeks is already putting politics ahead of patients now, how can Iowans trust her to put them ahead of partisan gamesmanship in Washington?”

Eric Woolson, spokesman for the Miller-Meeks campaign, said it’s not surprising that Hart and the Democratic campaign committee “have already resorted to ridiculous claims, cherry-picking scientific research, interfering with the doctor-patient relationship and muzzling doctors instead of providing real solutions to end this pandemic.”

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“As a nurse and small town doctor, Mariannette Miller-Meeks has spent a lifetime being trusted by her patients,” he said. “In Congress, she’ll work for real solutions to lower health care costs, expand access and reopen our economy to the future.

“Rita Hart should begin by truly listening, stop hiding behind her heartless attacks and focus on Iowa-based solutions,” Woolson said.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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