President Donald Trump lied Friday when he said he was being “sarcastic” when he asked medical experts on Thursday to look into the possibility of injecting disinfectant as a treatment for the coronavirus.
Doctors and the company that makes Lysol and Dettol warned that injecting or ingesting disinfectants is dangerous. But when Trump was asked about the comments during a bill signing on Friday, he said, “I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.”
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.”
However, 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.
Here’s what Trump said Thursday while looking in the direction of coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and Department of Homeland Security science official Bill Bryan: “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 would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.”
The White House’s initial statement on Friday about the disinfectant remarks did not say the President had been sarcastic. It only alleged that the media had taken him out of context.
Trump has a history of falsely claiming that serious but controversial remarks had been sarcasm. For example, he has insisted that his famous 2016 “Russia, if you’re listening” request for Russia’s help obtaining Hillary Clinton emails was him being “sarcastic” and making “a joke.”