He wasn’t being sarcastic. Watch the two clips I posted yesterday, especially the second one where he looked to Deborah Birx for validation that there might be something to his idea. (Birx didn’t laugh.) His own press secretary didn’t claim he was joking in her statement this morning, instead emphasizing that Trump always tells people to consult with doctors when he floats a treatment idea.
But the real proof is how few members of MAGA media claimed in the aftermath of yesterday’s briefing that he was joking. Did anyone? The excuses I saw were all of the “he meant to say X but misspoke” variety.
I don’t blame him for saying he was being sarcastic, though, no matter how plain the evidence to the contrary is. It’s like Pee Wee Herman tumbling off his bike in front of a bunch of kids. Sometimes the only dignified way to spin a screw-up is to brush yourself off and say, “I meant to do that.”
“I was asking a sarcastic, & a very sarcastic question, to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside. But it does kill it.” — Trump tries to rewrite history, says he was speaking “sarcastically” when he mused about disinfectant injections being cure for Covid. pic.twitter.com/bWRU8EV6FZ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 24, 2020
The item below is making the rounds today on political Twitter. I thought it was a goof on yesterday’s presser — but then I noticed it’s a month old, a joke on Trump’s romance with longshot panaceas like hydroxychloroquine:
— The Onion (@TheOnion) March 25, 2020
The best part of his “sarcasm” spin is that he’ll inevitably double down on it at today’s briefing, purely to spare himself from having to admit error, and then the media will spend the next 24 hours replaying the original clip to prove that he wasn’t being sarcastic. Birx and Fauci are destined to be asked about it — “Did you take him as being sarcastic?” — and will have to give some uncomfortable-sounding answer like, “If the president says he was being sarcastic then I take him at his word.”
Then, once the whole story has blown over, he’ll forget his own spin and mention injecting something to “clean” the lungs at tomorrow’s briefing.
Actually, he’s already doing it:
“So I said, how do we do it inside the body or even outside the body with the hands and disinfect, I think would work. .. Maybe there’s something there.” pic.twitter.com/UsmOqiaxzt
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 24, 2020
This story is amusing in an “I can’t believe this guy is running the country” kind of way but the amusement rests on the assumption that no one who watched yesterday’s briefing could possibly be so foolish as to ingest disinfectant to try to corona-proof themselves. Problem is, this is a big country. There are a lot of very frightened, impressionable people out there. And so:
We decided to take the step of posting this alert after receiving more than 100 calls to our hotline.
— Mike Ricci (@riccimike) April 24, 2020
That’s Gov. Larry Hogan’s spokesman. Baltimore’s health department also sees cause for alarm:
DO NOT, we repeat, DO NOT drink or inject disinfectant! This will NOT protect you #COVID19, & could cause serious illness or death. If you accidentally ingest disinfectant, please contact the MD Poison Center at 1800-222-1222 or visit https://t.co/uhzzEgNzVq. Stay Safe #Baltimore pic.twitter.com/bqUDLuX6kp
— B’more City Health (@BMore_Healthy) April 24, 2020
If Trump had only limited his comments yesterday to bringing a “very powerful light” inside the body, the worst we’d have to worry about today is idiots shining flashlights down their throats.
Here’s Pelosi seizing the opportunity to smear all Republicans as anti-science because, she claims, the president wants people “to inject Lysol into their lungs.” He never said they should inject themselves, let alone with Lysol. He merely implied it.
.@SpeakerPelosi: “The president is asking people to inject Lysol into their lungs and Mitch was saying that states should go bankrupt. It’s a clear, visible within 24 hours of how the Republicans reject science and reject governance.” pic.twitter.com/GmvcCr50nt
— CSPAN (@cspan) April 24, 2020
Update: She’s going to get the Medal of Freedom someday. And she’ll have earned it, partially for the indignity she tolerated in having to spin like this.
Dr. Birx defends the President: When he gets new information, he likes to talk that through out loud and really have that dialogue and so that’s what dialogue he was having. I think he just saw the information at the time immediately.. and he was still digesting that information pic.twitter.com/3XrNvs8UjX
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 24, 2020