Jack Nicklaus says he took hydroxychloroquine, doubts COVID-19 death count after endorsing Trump

Jack Nicklaus announced his endorsement of Donald Trump on Wednesday after years of supporting the president, and now he’s going more in-depth on why he wants to see four more years.

When approached by The Palm Beach Post’s Tom D’Angelo, Nicklaus revealed that he had posted the six-paragraph statement at the prodding of Vice President Mike Pence. He said he knew the move would draw significant backlash, though he claimed most of the reaction has been positive:

“I knew when I did that that I would have certain percentage of the people (who) are not Trump fans and a certain percent of the people (who) are,” Nicklaus said. “The comments I have gotten, and Barbara (his wife) has gotten, have been overwhelmingly supportive of what I did.”

Nicklaus, a longtime Republican financial donor, also addressed Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a topic that Democrats have repeatedly hammered the president on. The United States leads the world in recorded coronavirus deaths with more than 200,000 according to the WHO, followed by Brazil, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Why Jack Nicklaus likes Donald Trump’s handling of COVID-19

Per the Post, Nicklaus said it is impossible to know if anybody could have done better in Trump’s shoes — “Has he saved millions of lives or has he cost us lives? Nobody is going to know that.” — and he believes Trump has “done the best he can with the people he’s had.”

And Nicklaus cast doubt on the death totals themselves via speculation and anecdotal evidence:

“I don’t think the deaths are a correct number,” he said Friday. “I hate to say that.”

Nicklaus told a story about two people he knows whose parents died from something other than COVID and, according to Nicklaus, they were asked if the cause of death could be changed to COVID and declined.

“The hospital gets more money with COVID death than they do another death,” Nicklaus said. “I’m sure there’s been a lot of that.”

The 80-year-old Nicklaus and his wife both tested positive for COVID-19 in March. He told the Post that he experienced a sore throat and cough, while Barbara was asymptomatic. He also revealed how his case was treated:

“Sure I was concerned,” Jack said. “I took hydroxychloroquine. Gone in two days.”

Trump has endorsed hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria and lupus, for months as coronavirus cure. Trump claimed in May to be taking the drug, but there was no indication the same drug was used to treat the president when he tested positive for the coronavirus last month.

Jack Nicklaus is not a fan of Trump’s tweets

While Nicklaus clearly likes Trump’s policies, he is one of many frustrated by the president’s infamous Twitter habit.

Nicklaus told the Post that Trump calls him occasionally to ask the golfing legend for his opinion on his job as president. Nicklaus will apparently ask the president every so often if he really needs to tweet something:

The first time the subject of Trump’s tweets came up was when Nicklaus and Trump were golfing together early in Trump’s presidency. Trump asked Jack: “How do you think I’m doing?”

Nicklaus said, “I think you’re doing great, I think your policies are great, I love what you’re doing. But … why do you tweet such insignificant stuff? Why do you want to do that?”

Trump said to him, “Not very presidential is it?” And Nicklaus replied, “No, and you are the president.”

“I just can’t help myself,” Trump told Nicklaus.

Nicklaus acknowledged as much in his endorsement of Trump, saying, “You might not like the way our President says or tweets some things — and trust me, I have told him that!” He told the Post he still believes the plusses outweigh the negatives with Trump.

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