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Source: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP / John Nacion/NurPhoto

Trump says injecting disinfectant comments were 'sarcastic'

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On Thursday night, President Donald Trump seemed to suggest that research was needed into a downright dangerous treatment for coronavirus - injecting disinfectant.  

While talking about how light and disinfectant can kill coronavirus on surfaces, President Trump stated: "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? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it'd be interesting to check that. So you're going to have to use medical doctors." 

Now, President Trump is going back on those comments, suggesting that they were "sarcastic."  

"I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen," Trump told reporters as he signed a coronavirus relief bill in the Oval Office.

"I was asking a sarcastic — and a very sarcastic question — to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside," the president continued. "But it does kill it, and it would kill it on the hands and that would make things much better. That was done in the form of a sarcastic question to the reporters." 

When a reporter in the room, pointed out that Trump had turned to experts in the room and asked them about the idea, he claimed that he was asking those officials "whether or not sun and disinfectant on the hands … can help us." 

Trump's comments and subsequent pullback attracted criticism from many. Following the comments, Lysol and Dettol maker Reckitt Benckiser Plc stated that “under no circumstance” should their range of disinfectants be administered to the human body. 

Fox News anchor Bret Baier also criticized the comments. "It didn't seem like it was coming off as sarcastic when he was talking and turning to Dr. Birx on the side," Baier said. He added that Trump's "rifts" have been "problematic" when it came to discussing health issues.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer labelled Trump as “a quack medicine salesman.” 

“We seem to have a quack medicine salesman on television,” he said. “He’s talking about things like disinfectant in the lungs.” 

Schumer added: “We need real focus in the White House on what needs to be done. Instead of talking about disinfectant the president should be talking about how he’s going to implement testing, which every expert says is the quickest path to get us moving again.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also attacked Trump over the comments, saying: "The president is asking people to inject Lysol into their lungs and Mitch McConnell is saying that states should go bankrupt. It’s clear… visible, within 24 hours, of how the Republicans reject science and reject governance.” 

Congressman Al Green, a Democrat from Texas, added: "President Trump’s medical advice and Lysol have something in common. Both are unfit for human consumption. #TrumpIsNotADoctor and he’s unfit to be president."

Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, encouraged Trump to "stop playing doctor on television." 

Brianna Wu, a candidate for the US House of Representatives, shared a doctor's reaction to the comments. 

The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.