Opinion: It Actually Doesn’t Matter If Trump Was ‘Sarcastic’ About Injecting Disinfectants Or Not
On Thursday, President Donald Trump made remarkable comments about how to treat coronavirus, suggesting that doctors should look at possibly injecting patients afflicted with the disease with disinfectants.
“I see that disinfectant knocks it out in a minute…is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside, or, almost a cleaning?” Trump asked members of the coronavirus task force during a press briefing.
Social media, understandably, reacted with alarm to the comments. Medical experts reminded Americans not to ingest or inject such products into their bodies (it can harm or kill you). Companies that make those products sent out press releases telling everyone, please don’t do what the president said.
And on Friday, Trump said it was all a harmless joke.
While discussing the matter in the Oval Office with reporters, Trump said he was “asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen,” according to Politico’s Jake Sherman.
Whether sarcastic or not, the president’s comments were inappropriate and dangerous.
Firstly, it’s highly dubious that Trump’s words were sarcasm at all. Hearing him talk yesterday, there’s no intonation from his voice that suggests as much, and he didn’t appear to say anything afterward that would suggest he was trying to be humorous.
It’s also questionable since, after he said those words, he was asked to follow up on them. And he responded by continuing to suggest injecting someone with disinfectants was worth looking at.
“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,” Trump said. “But it certainly has a big effect if it’s on a stationary object.”
Watch his statement yourself, and see if he sounds sarcastic to you:
The President inquires about injecting disinfectant? pic.twitter.com/75kGQkD0h7
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 23, 2020
It certainly doesn’t look like sarcasm — and we’ve definitely seen this president be sarcastic in the past.
But even if it wasn’t sarcasm, so what? The president’s words matter. People will hear sarcasm, and still act on them. This president did nothing to prevent people from thinking he was being genuine, which required the FDA to issue out a statement saying, no, you shouldn’t inject or ingest bleach into your body.
The president said something that required a forcible statement contradicting his comments. In the very best case scenario, it demonstrates that the president needs a lesson on how to be sarcastic in a more noticeable way.
If he can’t handle that, he shouldn’t be sarcastic at all when he’s talking about life-threatening situations — whether that’s about injecting chemicals into people, or talking about coronavirus in general.