Fact check: Trump lies that he was ‘sarcastic’ when he talked about injecting a disinfectant

Cooper calls out Trump's walk back: He just lied

Doctors and the company that makes Lysol and Dettol have warned that injecting or ingesting disinfectants is dangerous. But when Trump was asked about comments during the signing of the bill on Friday, he said, “I was asking a sarcastic question to reporters like you just to see what was going to happen.”

He then suggested that he was talking about disinfectants that can be safely rubbed on people’s hands. And then he came back to the explanation of the sarcasm, saying that it was “a very sarcastic question for the journalists in the room about the disinfectant inside”.

A reporter noted that he had asked his medical experts to examine him. Trump replied, “No, no, no, no – to see whether or not the sun and the hand sanitizer, but whether or not the sun can help us.”

The facts first: Trump was not “sarcastic” on Thursday when he raised the possibility of injecting disinfectant. There was nothing to indicate that he was anything but serious. He was also wrong on Friday when he denied asking medical experts to “verify” the idea of ​​disinfectant injections; he was watching them at the time. And he didn’t mention the hands when he said Thursday.

Here’s what Trump said on Thursday while looking in the direction of Dr. Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator, and Department of Homeland Security chief scientist Bill Bryan: “And then I see the disinfectant, where it drops it in a minute. minute. And is it possible to do something like that, by injecting inside or almost cleaning. Because you see that it gets into the lungs and it makes a huge number on the lungs. interesting to check that out. So, that, you’re going to have to go to the doctors. But it seems – it seems interesting to me. ”

What happened on Thursday

Bryan, the Acting Under Secretary of Science and Technology for the Department of Homeland Security, described the tests in which he said disinfectants like bleach and isopropyl alcohol quickly killed the coronavirus on surfaces. Bryan also explained how the virus was negatively affected by exposure to UV rays and higher temperatures.

Trump first spoke about the possibility of using light as a treatment for people who already have coronavirus, thinking that “very powerful light” could be used to “strike the body” or be brought “to inside the body … the skin or whatever. “Trump said Bryan said he was going to” test this. ” (Experts said the idea didn’t make sense; when Trump asked Birx if she had heard of the use of heat or light linked to the virus, she replied, “Not as a cure. “)

Bryan said he would “get to the right people” who could test. Trump then began commenting on the disinfectant, which he concluded by saying “it sounds interesting to me.”

A reporter reminded him on Friday that he had watched Birx when he made the comments on Thursday, Trump said he was watching Bryan, Birx, but also “some of the journalists”. In fact, the video shows that he was looking in the direction of Birx and Bryan for almost the entirety of his thoughts on the disinfectant, only glancing at the journalists very briefly.

Later in Thursday’s briefing, when a reporter asked Bryan if there was a scenario in which household cleaners could be injected into a person, Bryan said, “No, I’m here to talk about the results of our study. We won’t do it in this lab and our lab. “Trump then added,” It wouldn’t be by injection. We are talking about almost cleaning, sterilizing an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work. But it certainly has a great effect if it’s on a stationary object. “

So: Trump can argue that he went back on his comments during the briefing. But even in this more careful follow-up, he gave no indication that it had been anything less than completely serious.

Different spin

The White House’s initial statement on the disinfectant statement on Friday did not say the president had been sarcastic. Only alleged that the media had taken it out of context.
Trump has always wrongly claimed that serious but controversial remarks were sarcasm. For example, he insisted that his famous 2016 “Russia if you listen” request for help from Russia to get emails from Hillary Clinton was “sarcastic” and was “kidding”.


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