President Trump Did Not Suggest Drinking Bleach

bradwilmouth | July 13, 2020
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Since President Donald Trump's April 23 White House briefing in which he seemed to misunderstand the meaning of the word "disinfectants" (which are too strong to use inside the body) and suggested that doctors might try injecting unspecified "disinfectants" into the lungs of patients to kill the virus, much of the media have demonstrated their inability to stick to the facts by exaggerating and putting words in the President's mouth that he never said.

Journalists and commentators have repeatedly claimed that he recommended that people "drink" or "ingest" products like "bleach" even though he never suggested that anyone "drink" or "ingest" anything. The only people who have put the word "drink" and the word "bleach" together have been Trump's critics who have been so obsessed with taunting him.

Journalists also wrongly blamed President Trump for an increase in people calling poison control centers in April inquiring about using disinfectants to kill the virus when the spike in calls had already happened before the press conference, but did not receive much media attention until it could be used to further try to damage the President.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the April 23, 2020, White House press briefing:

White House Press Briefing

April 23, 2020

6:13 p.m. Eastern

Dr. WILLIAM BRYAN, HOMELAND SECURITY UNDER SECRETARY FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: We're also testing disinfectants, readily available. We've tested bleach -- we've tested isopropyl alcohol on the virus specifically in saliva or in respiratory fluids, and I can tell you that bleach will kill the virus in five minutes -- isopropyl alcohol will kill the virus in 30 seconds -- and that's with no manipulation -- no rubbing -- just bring it on and leaving it go. You rub it, and it goes away even faster. We're also looking at other disinfectants -- specifically looking at the COVID-19 virus in saliva.

This is not the end of our work. As we continue to characterize this virus and integrate our findings into practical applications to mitigate exposure and transmission, I would like to thank the President -- thank the Vice President for their ongoing support and leadership to the department and for their work in addressing this pandemic. I would also like to thank the scientists not only in the S&T and the INBAT, but to the larger scientific and R&D community. Thank you very much.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: (inaudible) -- a question that some of you are probably thinking if you're totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting. So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous -- whether it's ultraviolent or just powerful light -- and I think you said that hasn't been checked, but you're going to test it.

And then I said, "Supposing you brought the light inside the body?" which you could do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you're going to test that, too. Sounds interesting.

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, but it sounds interesting to me.