When Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert tested positive for COVID-19, the reaction on social media was one of the largest collections of “told you so’s” in internet history.
That was in late July, and for two days he admits he was very sick. He forced his way through a couple zoom interviews and laid low.
Most congressmen show up to events with their staffers, from publicists to legislative staff members. On Friday in his hometown of Tyler, Gohmert drove over to CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances hospital and hopped out of his vehicle and briskly walked from the parking garage to the new Bradley-Thompson tower.
He went up to the third floor to the courtyard for the two-hour presentation.
As he passed by onlookers, the same statement was made over and over.
“Wait, he had COVID?”
Louie joked he feels better than ever, and in reality, he looked it as well.
Maybe it was the hydroxychloroquine he so controversially used when he contracted COVID-19, but maybe it was his increase in vitamins and zinc and use of a steroid nebulizer and the regime.
As we talked, he brought up someone else who he talked to daily during his fight.
A doctor? No.
A physician’s assistant or nurse? No.
A counselor perhaps? No.
“Sean Hannity. Sean was calling me everyday,” Gohmert said.
Yes, the same entertainment news reporter on Fox News.
“I have to thank Sean Hannity. He would ask, ‘Do you need anything?’ How are you feeling?’ for seven days, and I only had symptoms for two days,” Gohmert said.
So I asked Louie, “After Dr. Hannity, what about President Trump?”
Turns out, they talked the night Trump returned from a trip to Midland, the same trip Gohmert was supposed to be taking. Trump was on Air Force One. Louie was in the White House and preparing to leave and quarantine.
“The first night that I tested positive there at the White House, he called me on the way back from Texas on Air Force One and said, ‘Louie, I’m so sorry you didn’t get to make the trip.’ And I said, ‘Well, I am not sorry you invited me for heaven’s sake, I would not even have known I had it, because I was totally asymptomatic when I tested positive,’” Gohmert said.
Trump paused and said, “So you mean, I saved your life?” Louie laughed and said, “Yea, you saved my life!”
Trump also had a White House doctor call Gohmert to check up on him. Even though he does talk to Trump more than the average politician, Gohmert still said, “It’s nice to have a president check up on you.”
But back to the hydroxychloroquine.
Gohmert, who seems to be in the middle of a lot of political votes and opinions, is trying to take the politics out of treatments.
“A conference Rand Paul and I did with doctors and experts from around the country (made it) very clear people should not close their minds and make decisions about treatments to COVID based on politics,” Gohmert said. “Do not base it off money they (politicians) make from (private pharmaceuticals) or others potentially getting millions of dollars.”
He then brought up the reason for hydroxychloroquine, to treat malaria.
“Let’s be realistic, there are countries where malaria has been a big problem and they are basically unaffected by COVID, you have to think something is going on there,” Gohmert said. “When you see we had a 78 percent higher fatality rate than the countries that were liberally using the hydroxychloroquine regime, it’s worth looking at. The vitamins help, all of those things help, zinc makes a big difference apparently is a healthy preventative.”
He then talked about the backlash Trump received for talking about the drug.
“I know some people got upset (Trump) said ‘Oh, he got involved.’ But he suggested, he didn’t come up with the idea for using the hydroxychloroquine regime, but he had doctors he trusted.”
During one of their calls, Trump joked about using the hate from those who do not support him for using the drug.
“So he told me in the last couple weeks, ‘You know, I made a big mistake right there at the first (part of the pandemic). I should have gone public and said ‘Whatever you do, do not take hydroxychloroquine then everyone would have taken it and it would not have had nearly as bad of an impact on the country!’ But anyway, that’s his sense of humor,” Gohmert said.
Even though hydroxychloroquine worked for Gohmert, he cautions it’s important to wait for the studies done by the FDA and CDC in terms of side effects of vaccines and potential cures before they are released into the public.
“Hydroxychloroquine is not a cure or a silver bullet to defeat it, but it seems to help in preventing it and lessening the symptoms,” he said.
It was now nearing three hours in the sun for the 67-year-old congressman and he made his way inside to talk to hospital officials before driving home.
The whole exchange made me question, “Wait, he had COVID?”
John Anderson is the regional editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph and the Longview News-Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com.