Connect with us

Politics

Trump refuses to take questions at White House coronavirus briefing

Published

on

  • President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence took no questions from reporters on Friday during an unusually short White House coronavirus task force briefing.
  • Only one reporter was able to ask a question of FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn about the trustworthiness of new tests being developed to detect the coronavirus and antibodies.
  • The truncated briefing comes after Trump made some of his most bizarre claims yet about potential treatments for the novel coronavirus, including finding some way to bring “very powerful light” into people’s bodies and mused, “I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute and is there a way you can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning.”
  • The White House press secretary later said his comments had been taken out of context, and Trump said he was being sarcastic.
  • Critics of the president have called for networks to stop airing the White House coronavirus task force briefings, during which Trump has been known to tout unproven treatments for the virus and contradict his experts.
  • The briefings often become chaotic and combative during question-and-answer sessions with reporters.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In an uncharacteristically short White House coronavirus task force briefing, Donald Trump did not take questions from the press the day after the president implied in a rambling monologue that injecting disinfectant — which is extremely dangerous — might serve as a treatment for COVID-19.

Only one reporter, CBS News’ Weijia Jiang, was able to ask Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn mid-briefing about the trustworthiness of some of the coronavirus tests being produced to detect the disease.

After Trump, Hahn, and Vice President Mike Pence concluded their prepared remarks, the three men left the room, leaving a pack of reporters shouting questions in their wake.

The typically marathon-long briefings often begin fairly smoothly, but sometimes become chaotic as journalists press Trump on his previous comments, tweets, and claims. During the Q&A sessions, the president has in the past berated reporters, contradicted his top medical experts, and made inaccurate claims about potential treatments for the coronavirus.

On Thursday, Trump shocked journalists and health experts when he proposed using “ultraviolet or just a very powerful light” to combat the coronavirus, and appeared to muse about whether there could be a way to administer “disinfectant” as an “injection:”

“So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether its ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said, that hasn’t been checked but you’re gonna test it. And then I said, supposing it brought the light inside the body, which you can either do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you’re gonna test that too, sounds interesting. And I then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute, and is there a way you 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’d be interesting to check that. So you’re going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds interesting to me, so we’ll see. But the whole concept of the light, the way it goes in one minute, that’s pretty powerful.”

Trump later asked Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator on the White House task force, about the use of UV light to deter the coronavirus.

“Not as a treatment,” she responded.

LoadingSomething is loading.

“I think it’s a great thing to look at,” he concluded.

As for Trump’s other suggestion: Injecting, ingesting, or bathing in any kind of disinfectant or bleach is toxic and dangerous. But Trump’s remarks caused backlash and confusion. The manufacturer behind popular cleaning products Lysol and Dettol issued a statement clarifying that their products should “under no circumstances…be administered into the human body.”

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency said Friday that they’d received calls about disinfectants and COVID-19.

“Under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through injection, ingestion, or any other route.”

The White House has attempted to explain the comments since they set off a furor Thursday night.

Trump took questions from reporters earlier in the day, at one point explaining that he’d asked “a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement on Friday that the president was misinterpreted.

“President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterdays’ briefing,” McEnany said in a statement. “Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines.”

Because of incidents like these, some journalists, like the Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan have called for networks to stop airing the White House coronavirus briefings. In late March some networks began cutting away from them occasionally.

On Friday night, Axios’ Jonathan Swan, citing four sources, reported that the White House was considering scaling back Trump’s presence at the daily briefings and making his appearances briefer.

Continue Reading
Advertisement Find your dream job

Trending