In every one of these instances Trump paid a priceat least in the short term. Multiple corporate bankruptcies and very nearly personal financial ruin. In the end, though, he was stalled but not stained and definitely not stopped. The headlines, no matter what they said, still made him famous. And what often exasperated his staffers and minders and critics in the circles of the social and financial elite also didnt lose him any fans.

Its worked for him, granted Nobles, the Trump Shuttle president. You cant argue with the mans success.

The spotlight, after all, led to The Apprentice, which led to his turn toward politics, which led to the Oval Office.

He frequently cites his smartsDonald Trumps very, very large brain, as he once put it. A self-styled expert on topics ranging from technology to the weather to all types of medical matters, Trump is especially attuned, too, to what his base craves. The base wanted hydroxychloroquine from the start. And the base wants it still. And Trump is well aware. Its what every pitchman has always done, former Trump publicist Alan Marcus once told me. Tell the people what they want to hear.

Ive received a lot of positive letters and it seems to have an impact, he said Monday in the White House. And maybe it does; maybe it doesnt. But if it doesnt, youre not going to get sick or die. This is aa pill thats been used to a long timefor 30, 40 years on the malaria, and on lupus, too, and even on arthritis, I guess, from what I understand.

He said hed been taking it for about a week and half.

And Im still here, he said. Im still here.

Not everybody whos known him through the years thinks hes telling the truth.

Not a chance, said Res, the former executive vice president. I dont think he would subject himself to any potential harm. He wants everyone to think hes taking it and to think everything he has said all along about it has been right. Thats what he wants. Thats why hes saying hes taking it.

Louise Sunshine, though, another former Trump Organization executive vice president, thinks he is. I asked her why. Shes known Trump for almost 50 years. Because one of his West Wing valets tested positive for the virus, she said. Because the vice presidents spokeswoman tested positive.

Because, Sunshine said, hes scared.