According to Donald Trump, he’s not responsible for the increased amount of calls about whether it’s safe or not to drink bleach
Last Thursday (April 23) during the White House coronavirus task force briefing, Donald Trump made some dangerous (and head-scratching) suggestions that unfortunately some seem to have been taken seriously. While presenting very (very!) early studies that hypothesize bleach and sunlight can help kill the virus, Trump decided to play doctor and ask in front of millions who were watching whether consuming disinfection was a possible cure for COVID-19.
He said, “So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous…whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light… And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?”
For those of you who don’t believe Trump suggested curing the coronavirus by shooting up with bleach: pic.twitter.com/91vpdOXWWp
— Helen Kennedy (@HelenKennedy) April 23, 2020
In the wake of these ludicrous statements, poison control centers across the country have reported an increase in calls from confused, concerned people asking if it’s okay to inject or consume disinfectant products, like bleach. Health officials, including the CDC, tried to mitigate the risk of people actually putting bleach into their bodies with warnings to the public. “Very clearly, disinfectants are not intended for ingestion either by mouth, by ears, by breathing them in — in any way, shape or form. And doing so can put people at great risk,” NYC Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said in a video clip posted to Twitter from the NYC Mayor’s Office account. Cleaning companies also got involved, pleading with consumers to use their products appropriately.
Should you inject bleach to fight COVID-19?
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) April 24, 2020
While the damage is clearly already done, what makes matters even more infuriating is that Trump denies all responsibility for his actions. During a White House news conference yesterday (April 27), Trump was asked about the increase in calls about the misusage of disinfectant, and Trump replied, “I can’t imagine why.” He was then asked if he felt responsible for the trend, and he simply replied, “No, I don’t.”
This comes after the Trump administration tried to do damage control in order to downplay how serious of a misstep his statements were last Thursday. “Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines,” his new press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany stated. And according to Trump, his suggestions were a form of “sarcasm.” He said, “I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.”
However, after Trump made those unhinged suggestions last Thursday, even his advisors grew concerned, and reportedly asked him to at least take a break from the pandemic briefings.
Trump suggests injecting bleach, and now authorities have to respond the same way they do to viral TikTok challenges. pic.twitter.com/ZbF5mW7NcL
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) April 28, 2020
Although it’s unclear just yet if any illnesses or deaths resulted from consuming disinfectant products, it’s obvious that involving Trump when updating the nation on how COVID-19 is being handled has possibly become a liability. Which is maybe why Monday’s coronavirus briefing was canceled.
Will Trump return to the stage? According to McEnany, unfortunately, yes. “We’re looking at different ways to showcase this president leading. The briefing is a key component of that. We will have briefings this week. But again, the media needs to not read into what’s happening and look at this as an opportunity for the president to speak to the American people,” she told Fox News. She added, “Make no mistake, the president will be briefing the American people this week. Millions and millions tune in to watch him and see his leadership.” Gulp.