When lying holds no moral weight, the liar will carelessly compound his dishonesty. So it is with Donald Trump whose pathological falsification of all things great and small is bound to set historical records. Unfortunately, this isn’t sport, and the likelihood that people will be hurt, and even die,cannot be ignored.
Trump’s bizarre and dangerous assertions on Thursday that injections of bleach or alcohol could be potential treatments for COVID-19 (coronavirus) were the latest escalation of his war on human beings. Trump seems to cherish initiatives that put lives at risk. He displays that in his efforts to kill Obamacare, his rollback of fuel emission standards, and remarkably in his proposal to nuke hurricanes. He clearly doesn’t have even a kindergartners grasp of science. But more worrisome is that he has zero empathy for the citizens of the United States or the world.
On Friday Trump sought to disinfect his noxious suggestion about ingesting household cleaning solutions. But his pitifully lame effort only served to amplify his abundant ignorance. For the record, at Thursday’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing (aka Trump 2020 reelection campaign infomercial), Trump hyped an insane theory of his own making with this inquiry: “The disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning.”
— Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica) April 23, 2020
Yes, of course there is. And it would totally kill the virus – along with the patient – but hey, that’s the trade-off. The comment was so preposterous that Trump had to walk it back early Friday as he spoke with reporters. However, his explanation only affirmed that he will lie shamelessly no matter how obvious it is. When asked to clarify his remarks, Trump told reporters that “I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.”
Reporter: Could you clarify your comments on injections of disinfectants?
Trump: I was asking the question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen…
Reporter: But you were asking your medical experts to look into it pic.twitter.com/T0hzizjgpN
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 24, 2020
The only problem with that excuse is that the video above shows that he wasn’t addressing reporters. He plainly turned to Dr. Deborah Birx and Bill Bryan of the Department of Homeland Security for affirmation of his wackadoodle theory. Furthermore, there was no hint of sarcasm in his voice or manner. And if that weren’t enough, Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, issued a statement saying that…
“President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing. Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines.”
Notice that McEnany doesn’t bother to point to whatever she is asserting was out of context. She knows that the media was merely quoting Trump, and doing so accurately. Even worse, McEnany doesn’t dispute the impression that Trump left as endorsing bleach injections. She merely advises that people consult with their doctors first. There’s a problem with that as well. Because if you ask your doctor if it’s okay to shoot up Clorox, you’re likely to be committed to a psyche ward.
Finally, Trump seems to think that it’s his job to float reckless and potentially fatal therapies to the American people on national television. And he said as much in this exchange:
Philip Bump, Washington Post: 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. They’re not looking for rumors.”
Trump: I’m the president and you are fake news. And you know what I’ll say to you? I’ll say it very nicely. You ready? It’s just a suggestion from a brilliant lab by a very, very smart, perhaps brilliant man. He’s talking about sun. He’s talking about heat. And you see the numbers. So that’s it. That’s all I have. I’m just here to present talent. I’m here to present ideas.”
Question: Respectfully, you’re the President and people tune in to these briefings and they want to get information and guidance
Trump: Hey I’m the President and you’re fake news pic.twitter.com/6zqefI3tGV
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 23, 2020
First of all, the suggestion to inject poisons was not from the “very smart, perhaps brilliant man.” That was all Trump. More to the point, it is not the president’s job to present any and all ideas, particularly those that are not validated by science and that can result in tragedy. That’s just rumor mongering. And Trump’s recent experience with hyping the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine proved the folly of such snake oil pitches when it turned out that it contributed to more deaths among a trial group of coronavirus patients, than those who did not receive it.
If there’s one thing that can be learned from this, it’s that Trump’s babbling must never be taken seriously. His ignorance and callous disregard for the welfare of others can only lead to pain and loss. And even when he’s called out for his fatal errors, he will manufacture distortions of reality to try to absolve himself of responsibility. These are the behaviors of a narcissistic sociopath. And those who continue to cover for him, whether in the public, the press, or politics, are not only complicit, they are hopelessly lost cultists.
UPDATE: So after suggesting that people ingest poison, then lying that it was HHS official Bill Bryan who said it, then lying that he was sarcastically addressing it to reporters, Trump has now tweeted that he did in fact say it to Bryan. Trump really needs someone on his staff to manage his lies better.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.