Fallout From Trump’s Disinfectant Comments Continues

Fallout From Trump’s Disinfectant Comments Continues


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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Worry and criticism continues to reverberate over Donald Trump’s comments from late last week in which he seemed to suggest that Americans could inject themselves with–or otherwise consume–household disinfectant products as an intervention against COVID-19.

From the presidential podium Thursday, Trump remarked, “And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. Is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside, or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’ll be interesting to check that.”

His comments were taken seriously enough to prompted multiple warnings from health professionals and disinfectant makers telling the public not to listen to Trump’s comments and to do so would be deadly.

Further, emergency hotlines in Maryland and Michigan saw a rise in calls, of people asking about Trump’s suggestion.

“… Obviously drinking Clorox is very, very dangerous. I’m shocked that my first national interview [and] my first line is I have to remind people not to drink Clorox,” said John Ernst, mayor of Brookhaven, Ga.

Although when the criticism started coming in fiercely over his disinfectant comments, Trump attempted to say that he made the remarks sarcastically, that’s a lie, said Canadian journalist Daniel Dale.

“The president said he was being sarcastic, he plainly was not, and he said he was addressing this question about injecting disinfectants to reporters when in fact he clearly had been addressing Dr. [Deborah] Birx [the White House coronavirus response coordinator] and Bill Bryan, the Department of Homeland Security health official, who was present. I think this is notable because this is the president willing to lie to Americans about something we all saw on camera less than 24 hours prior,” he said.

What’s really dangerous about Trump’s comments is that there is a percentage of Americans who take his statements seriously, according to Eli Stokols, White House correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

“Every night we watch these briefings, you almost forget the briefing the night before because it’s two hours and it’s so many new things that you have to go through and fact check,” he said. “I think what’s different about this statement that the president suggested last night that some of these treatments, you know, you could do an injection, you know, with a disinfectant, what struck people differently about that is this is something that could be really dangerous, because as much as a lot of us in the media take the things the president says with a grain of salt, there are a lot of people across the country, who are going to respond to this and take this seriously.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, tried to explain how Trump could have come to make such a dangerous remark.

“When he gets new information, he likes to talk that through out loud and really have that dialogue. And so, that’s what dialogue he was having,” she said. “I think he just saw the information at the time, immediately before the press conference, and he was still digesting that information.”

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