Last week Donald Trump created a firestorm when he suggested that two treatments for coronivirus might involve injecting commercial household cleaners and using ultra violet rays to irradiate the body.
The Internet immediately went into overdrive, producing many precious memes about ingesting commercial cleaners to disinfect the body.
Trump defenders, on the other hand, went into overdrive themselves, asserting that Trump never claimed that ingesting disinfectants would cleanse the body, and that people who were claiming that he did were suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Trump himself immediately backtracked when the whole thing blew up in his face, claiming that he had just been “sarcastic” and used the statements as a ploy to unveil the “dishonest” media sites who would misconstrue his words.
Some of the fact-checking websites like Snopes weighed in, clarifying that while Trump indeed did not assert that people should ingest household cleaners, he had quite seriously asked his expert advisers whether they could use (1) UV rays and (2) the injection of household cleaners as a way to treat the coronavirus.
Here is the official Transcript from the President’s April 23 briefing.
|THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. So I asked Bill a question that probably some of you are thinking of, 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 ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that 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 can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too. It sounds interesting.|
ACTING UNDER SECRETARY BRYAN: We’ll get to the right folks who could.
THE PRESIDENT: Right. 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 with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me. So we’ll see. But the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute, that’s — that’s pretty powerful.
Then later in the session, a reporter and the President had this colloquy:
|Q But I — just, can I ask about — the President mentioned the idea of cleaners, like bleach and isopropyl alcohol you mentioned. There’s no scenario that that could be injected into a person, is there? I mean —|
THE PRESIDENT: It wouldn’t be through injection. We’re talking about through almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work. But it certainly has a big effect if it’s on a stationary object.
More disturbing, in a way, was an article from the left-leaning British newspaper The Guardian, which suggested that Trump may have gotten this idea from a scam artist named Mark Grenon, who has long peddled the idea of bleach as a miracle cure. As reported by the Guardian:
|Grenon styles himself as “archbishop” of Genesis II – a Florida-based outfit that claims to be a church but which in fact is the largest producer and distributor of chlorine dioxide bleach as a “miracle cure” in the US. He brands the chemical as MMS, “miracle mineral solution”, and claims fraudulently that it can cure 99% of all illnesses including cancer, malaria, HIV/Aids as well as autism.|
Grenon and his supporters had apparently sent a number of letters to Trump and his administration asking them to consider the curative properties of chlorine dioxide bleach.
So, what this demonstrates is an appalling lack of scientific understanding on the part of Donald Trump. This would be an appalling lack of understanding for any functioning adult, for anyone who had taken high school biology and chemistry. And the distinction between ingesting and injecting bleach was clearly lost on many Trump supporters. Just to be clear:
- If one were to ingest any amount of bleach or other household cleanser, it would ruin your trachea and digestive system, and probably kill you.
- If one were to inject any amount of bleach or other household cleanser, it would probably kill you.
- Ultraviolet rays might not immediately harm a person — although prolonged exposure causes skin cancer, premature aging and other maladies — but would also be completely ineffective against the virus.
Equally important, neither ingesting or injecting bleach or any other manner of administering household cleanser into the body, would be completely ineffective in killing an airborne virus that primarily infects the lungs.
That the President of the United States — a self-declared “stable genius” who has repeatedly emphasized how well his brain works — has such an appalling lack of science awareness should make us all deranged. And Trump’s medical and science advisers clearly have to humor him and try to correct him without appearing to contradict him, so that he doesn’t fire them.
Liberals and progressives have not been too hard on Trump. If anything, we’ve been too kind. This complete moron will literally cause the unnecessary deaths of thousands of coronavirus patients with his erratic leadership, inability to grasp scientific concepts, and unwillingness and incapacity to provide the steady ( but also difficult) leadership that someone like Angela Merkel has been providing to Germany or Jacinda Arden has been providing to New Zealand.
Not to mention all the hospital reports of the poor souls who did try ingesting cleaning products due to his suggestions, as well as the enormous amount of phone enquirers into such a treatment. It is not his position or responsibility to guess at a virus cure as a politician.