President Donald Trump says he has a “very good relationship” with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and that he will do whatever he can to make the industry safer.
Gupta, a medical doctor who has been a top surrogate for Trump’s presidential bid, has been accused of sexually harassing a patient, and he is now under scrutiny after a New York Times article revealed that he had paid Gupta more than $10 million to provide counseling to patients who have had sexual partners with HIV and hepatitis C. Trump also told the Times he has been in contact with Gupta for years.
In a statement, Trump said: “Dr. Gupta and I are in a very good relationship and I thank him for his service to our country.
He has been an excellent advocate for my administration, and I am committed to making the American health care system more accessible and affordable.”
The statement also said Trump had no reason to doubt Gupta’s integrity, noting he had spent years working to promote his health care law, including at the White House.
Gupta has been very loyal to me and to the presidency, Trump added.
Gupta’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Gupta was named a national “insider” by Trump in January, and the Times reported he has received more than 50,000 dollars from the Trump campaign and was working on a book.
The Times story, published on Friday, comes a day after Trump defended his handling of the situation in the wake of Gupta’s disclosure.
He said he is not aware of any other instances in which he has engaged in “careless behavior” and said that Gupta is “a friend” and that they have “been very good friends.”
Gupta, who is now a consultant to Trump’s campaign, said the Times article was an “absolute fabrication.”
“I am very pleased that I have received the support of Dr. Gupta for his effort to protect and advance the health of millions of people,” Trump said in a statement.
Gupta did not respond to an email requesting comment.
Trump and his campaign have been at odds with the medical community since his presidential campaign.
Trump has repeatedly criticized Gupta’s work and called him a “terrible doctor.”
Trump has also suggested that Gupta’s family is responsible for the death of his daughter, Ivanka, and has called her a “piece of shit” in the past.
In November, a judge ruled against Trump in a lawsuit over his family’s refusal to pay Gupta’s $3.5 million settlement for the wrongful death of a woman who died in his home in Florida in 2007.