President Donald Trump used his go-to excuse on Friday afternoon to walk back his astonishing suggestion that people inject disinfectant to cure COVID-19.
“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen,” Trump said in the Oval Office, according to a pool report.
When asked if he was encouraging such use of disinfectant, the President replied “Of course not.”
He said using disinfectant on one’s hands “could have a very good effect.”
It was Trump’s effort to do damage control after arguing during a press conference the previous day that because “disinfectant knocks [COVID-19] out in a minute,” there should be “a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, a prominent member of the White House COVID-19 task force, looked positively aghast at his comments while listening in the background, and Reckitt Benckiser, the producer of Lysol, had to release a statement emphatically urging people to not stick their product into the bloodstream.
The “sarcasm” defense has become a familiar refrain from the President over the past several years. It’s a card he’s played more than once after drawing controversy over a particularly shocking remark or claim.
Watch Trump below:
President says he meant UV and bleach therapy "sarcastically", was goofing on "extraordinarily hostile" media in the room. pic.twitter.com/Q9gzo2heCD
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 24, 2020