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Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who served under President Trump, told MSNBC on Wednesday that hydroxychloroquine "definitively" does not work as a coronavirus treatment.

Why it matters: Trump took the drug in May as a preventative measure against the virus and has prompted controversy by continuing to tout its efficacy despite the FDA ending its emergency use authorization.

  • Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., garnered more controversy this week after retweeting a viral video falsely claiming that hydroxychloroquine is a "cure" for the virus. That caused Twitter to temporarily bar Trump Jr. from tweeting or retweeting.

What he's saying: "We all hoped it was going to work. ... All of the studies that were rigorously done have pointed in the same direction, which is that the drug doesn't work," Gottlieb said.

  • "I think at this point, we can definitively say hydroxychloroquine doesn't work. I'm not sure what more we need to do."
  • "I think it's incumbent of the public health officials around the president to make sure he's fully informed of that information. ... There is a lot of data right now available that I think could inform a very convincing briefing."

Go deeper

Chris Christie tells Trump to stop inflaming and show the evidence

One of President Trump's top allies publicly rebuked him on Thursday night for failing to produce evidence to support his unfounded claims that Democrats were stealing the election from him.

Driving the news: "We heard nothing today about any evidence," former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on ABC. "This kind of thing, all it does is inflame without informing. And we cannot permit inflammation without information."

Dems race to address, preempt stimulus fraud claims

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Biden officials are working to root out the systematic fraud in unemployment and Paycheck Protection Program claims that plagued the Trump administration’s efforts to boost the economy with coronavirus relief money, Gene Sperling told House committee chairmen privately this week.

Why it matters: President Biden just signed another $1.9 trillion of aid into law, with Sperling tapped to oversee its implementation. And the administration is asking Congress to approve another $2.2 trillion for the first phase of an infrastructure package.

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden close to picking Nick Burns as China ambassador

Nicholas Burns. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nicholas Burns, a career diplomat, is in the final stages of vetting to serve as President Biden’s ambassador to China, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Across the administration, there's a consensus the U.S. relationship with China will be the most critical — and consequential — of Biden's presidency. From trade to Taiwan, the stakes are high. Burns could be among the first batch of diplomatic nominees announced in the coming weeks.