‘I can’t imagine why’: Trump says he takes no responsibility for people ingesting disinfectant despite suggesting it as treatment

President faces backlash for fourth day over comment about injecting disinfectant to kill Covid-19

John T. Bennett
Tuesday 28 April 2020 02:30 EDT
Donald Trump says he takes no responsibility for people ingesting disinfectant despite telling them to

Donald Trump said on Monday he will take no responsibility if Americans inject or otherwise consume disinfectant to kill Covid-19, even though he suggested it during a Thursday evening press conference.

“No, I don’t,” the president said Monday evening when asked about Maryland’s governor saying his government got calls from people asking if they should.

“I can’t imagine why,” Mr Trump said when informed of Governor Larry Hogan’s comments about calls there. Mr Hogan is a Republican.

The president on Friday denied seriously suggesting people consume toxic materials after later in Thursday’s briefing saying disinfectant could kill the virus but not via injections.

“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters ... to see what would happen,” the president said Friday, claiming he was both asking a sarcastic question to coronavirus task force member Deborah Birx and asking his medical advisers to examine the impact sunlight has on the virus, not disinfectants, after a health official had described a study suggesting ultraviolet rays quickly kill Covid-19 cells.

A transcript of his Thursday press briefing, however, suggests otherwise. It also was not immediately clear how one could ask sarcastic and serious questions simultaneously.

Here is what Mr Trump said on Thursday evening: “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.

He then instructed his top public health officials -- including coronavirus task force member Deborah Birx, a physician who sat statuesque nearby as the president suggested Lysol or 409 injections as Covid-19 treatments -- to “check that.”

“Not as a treatment,” Ms Birx replied on Thursday night, undermining the president’s sarcasm claim and another that he was not addressing her.

A national poll released on Monday showed former Vice President Joe Biden opening a 10-point lead over Mr Trump.

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