He then suggested he was talking about disinfectants that can safely be rubbed on people’s hands. And then he returned to the sarcasm explanation, saying it was “a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside.”
A reporter noted that he had asked his medical experts to look into it. Trump responded: “No, no, no, no — to look into whether or not sun and disinfectant on the hands, but whether or not sun can help us.”
Facts First: Trump was not being “sarcastic” on Thursday when he raised the possibility of injecting disinfectant. There was simply no indication that he was being anything less than serious. He was also wrong Friday when he denied he had asked the medical experts to “check” the idea of disinfectant injections; he was looking at them at the time. And he did not mention hands during his Thursday remarks.
What happened on Thursday
Bryan, the acting undersecretary of science and technology for the Department of Homeland Security, outlined tests in which he said disinfectants like bleach and isopropyl alcohol quickly killed the coronavirus on surfaces. Bryan also spoke about how the virus was found to be negatively affected by exposure to UV rays and higher temperatures.
Bryan said he would “get to the right folks” who could do testing. Trump then began his comments about disinfectant, which he concluded by saying “it sounds interesting to me.”
Later in the Thursday briefing, when a reporter asked Bryan if there is any scenario in which household cleaners could be injected into a person, Bryan said, “No, I’m here to talk about the findings that we had in the study. We won’t do that within that lab and our lab.” Trump then interjected: “It wouldn’t be through injection. We’re talking about through almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work. But it certainly has a big effect if it’s on a stationary object.”
So: Trump can argue that he walked back his comments during the briefing. But even in this more cautious follow-up, he offered no indication that he had been anything less than completely serious.
Medical experts and government entities issued sharp warnings late Thursday and on Friday against injecting or ingesting disinfectants, noting that doing so could be deadly.
This story has been updated