President Donald Trump is threatening to stop the daily White House coronavirus briefings — not because of public outcry over his comments about injecting disinfectants, or because his statements are being used against him in Joe Biden attack ads — but because reporters ask too many “hostile questions.”
Trump took to Twitter Saturday evening to criticize the briefings, saying they are no longer “worth the time,” although he did note they get “record ratings.”
“What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately. They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort,” Trump tweeted at 6:01 p.m. ET.
The president’s comments came a day after he walked back a controversial statement about injecting disinfectants into people to fight COVID-19.
“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,” Trump said, according to the White House transcript from Thursday evening’s briefing. “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.”
After he floated the idea, health officials and disinfectant makers scrambled to warn the public against such uses.
“Under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” Lysol wrote in a lengthy statement Friday on Twitter.
Trump later said he was joking when he made the comments. “I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you, just to see what would happen,” he told reporters Friday at an Oval Office bill signing.
Still, the New York City Poison Control Center said calls for exposure to household chemicals spiked right after Trump’s remarks. An agency spokesperson told the New York Daily News that the center was notified of “30 cases of possible exposure to disinfectants between 9 p.m. Thursday and 3 p.m. Friday.” That’s compared to 13 cases over the same time period last year.
NYC Poison Control now has a warning on the front page of its website saying: “Do not ingest or inject Lysol or any other disinfectant as a treatment for COVID-19. Household disinfectants are poisonous and can cause serious harm or even death if swallowed or injected.”
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