Donald Trump, The US president retweeted a video on Tuesday in which Dr Stella Immanuel claimed people didn’t need to wear masks and there was a cure for COVID-19.
Mr Trump shared the clip as he posted a series of tweets advocating the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus.
Many studies have shown the drug is not effective and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently withdrew an order that allowed its use as an emergency treatment.
Dr Immanuel says in the clip: “I came here to Washington DC to tell America nobody needs to get sick. This virus has a cure, it is called hydroxychloroquine.”
She added: “I know you people want to talk about masks, hello, you don’t need a mask. There is a cure. I know you don’t want to open schools – no, you don’t need people to be locked down.
Dr Immanuel also claims to have successfully treated 350 people “and counting” with hydroxychloroquine.
She appeared with other doctors at an event organised by Tea Party Patriots Action, a group that has helped fund a pro-Trump committee.
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube began removing the video from their sites because it includes misleading claims about the drug. But dozens of versions of the video remain live on their platforms, with conservative news outlets, groups and internet personalities sharing it on their pages, where users have viewed them millions of times.
Twitter also took down a tweet from the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, which described one version of the video as a “must watch!!!”.
His account was also put on a 12-hour timeout. The president had removed his retweet and no action was taken against his account.
Mr Trump defended sharing the video after CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins pressed him over his support for the doctor at a daily briefing on Tuesday. The reporter said Dr Immanuel had “made videos saying that doctors make medicines using DNA from aliens”.
The US president said: “She was on air along with many other doctors and they were big fans of hydroxychloroquine, and I thought that she was very impressive… she said that she’s had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients.
“I thought her voice was an important voice but I know nothing about her.”
US media has shared other footage which claims to show Dr Immanuel believes witches can impregnate people in their sleep.
She is heard saying in the clip: “It’s what we call astral s€*. That means this person is not really a demon or a Nephilim. It’s just a human being that’s a witch. And they astral project and sleep with people.”
A Nephilim refers to a mysterious group of people who feature in the Hebrew Bible. In another clip the doctor appears to suggest people can be impregnated by demons in their dreams.
She is also reported to have said a vaccine is being developed to make people immune to becoming religious.
Mr Trump’s support for Dr Immanuel comes as he has questioned the credibility of the leading US infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci.
In recent nationally televised interviews, Mr Trump himself has described Dr Fauci as “a bit of an alarmist” and accused him of making “mistakes” in his coronavirus guidance to the American people.
Asked if he can do his job when Mr Trump continues to publicly question his credibility, Dr Fauci said he would press ahead “no matter what” because of the stakes involved. The doctor has also rejected claims hydroxychloroquine is an effective coronavirus treatment.
“I go along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” he said. “The overwhelming prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease.”