By Ro Okun
A Black, female Houston doctor who praises hydroxychloroquine and says that face masks aren’t necessary to stop transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus is believed to be on a short list President Trump is compiling to replace vice president Mike Pence as his running mate, several Washington sources suggest.
After former vice president Joseph R. Biden selected Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate on August 11, the Trump campaign is believed to have accelerated its efforts to find a replacement for Mr. Pence, a loyal if listless foot soldier for the president. “While it’s no secret the campaign has been struggling,” a source close to the White House is alleged to have said, “no one thought Mr. Trump would ever consider a Black woman.” Mr. Trump is still courting African American voters—while simultaneously hoping many Black voters will also consider voting for rapper and record producer Kanye West instead of Mr. Biden. West’s running mate is Michelle Tidball, a white Christian “Biblical life coach” from Wyoming.
Aides to presidential senior advisor Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, are believed to be advocating for Dr. Stella Immanuel, the controversial Cameroon-American pediatrician and minister. Mr. Trump described her as “very impressive” despite Dr. Immanuel claiming that gynecological problems, like cysts and endometriosis are caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches and claiming that alien DNA is currently being used in medical treatments. (To hedge his bets, Mr. Kushner also met last week with Mr. West who he described as an “old friend.”)
A Trump campaign aide is alleged to have said, “If Dr. Immanuel is selected, it will blunt excitement over Biden having chosen Kamala Harris as his running mate. And no one would ever doubt for a minute that Kanye is anything less than100 per cent American.”
Dr. Immanuel, 55—the same age as Sen. Harris—came to prominence after delivering a speech on the steps of the Supreme Court July 27 at the “White Coat Summit,” where she and other outlier physicians disputed the overwhelming medical consensus on the novel coronavirus. The event was organized by Tea Party Patriots, a right-wing group backed by wealthy Republican donors, according to the Daily Beast.
It is no secret that the Trump campaign has been in disarray all summer. Last month campaign manager Brad Parscale was replaced by his deputy Bill Stepien, who was tasked with revitalizing the campaign. Mr. Stepien is said to have seized on the idea of replacing Pence, the zealous evangelical former Indiana governor. “The president long ago secured the Christian right vote,” a campaign aide is believed to have said, “so Pence is dispensable. Dr. Immanuel, on the other hand, could be just what the doctor ordered.”
sides Dr. Immanuel, others on the vice-presidential nominee short list include Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Dr. Immanuel alleges that she has successfully treated hundreds of patients with hydroxychloroquine, the discredited treatment Mr. Trump is still promoting despite the Food and Drug Administration revoking its emergency use authorization as a Covid-19 treatment in June.
After a reporter is believed to have pointed out that Dr. Immanuel was born in the west central African country of Cameroon and not in the US—a legal requirement to serve as vice president or president—sources overheard Mr. Kushner angrily blaming his staff for telling him that Cameroon was a US territory. Initially reluctant to acknowledge his mistake, the president’s son-in-law is said to have abruptly ordered a halt to the vetting process of Dr. Immanuel.
Vice presidential nominee speculation then turned to another Black woman; sources suggest former Bush administration secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. However, in an article in The Hill in June, Rice declined to say whether she even planned to vote for Trump in November. “You’ll be the first to know when I want to speak about American politics,” Ms. Rice said.