Trump told reporters on Friday that he was being sarcastic about the disinfectant and, contrary to the video of his remarks, he claimed he had actually been addressing reporters at the briefing and not health officials.
“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you, just to see what would happen,” he said.
However, recordings of the briefing clearly shows Trump responding to information from his health officials and at times asking them questions about treatment.
Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker asked Trump at Thursday’s briefing about his preference for publicly speculating, as he has done in the past with an anti-malarial drug whose use is also unproven.
“Respectfully sir, you’re the president and people tuning into these briefings, they want to get information and guidance and want to know what to do,” Rucker said. “They’re not looking for rumors.”
“Hey, Phil,” Trump responded. “I’m the president and you’re fake news.”
At least 44,000 people in the United States have died from the coronavirus, according to a New York Times tracker following the latest data. At least 868,000 confirmed cases have been found around the country.
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency released a statement Friday morning warning its citizens not to inject bleach or other disinfectants into their body to protect from the virus.
The makers of Lysol and other cleaning products quickly put out their own warnings.
“As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser said in a statement.
Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, said the agency released its warning after receiving “more than 100 calls” about the method mentioned by the president.
“I’m just here to present talent,” Trump said at Thursday’s briefing. “I’m just here to present ideas because we want ideas to get rid of this thing.”
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