By and large, Trump’s coronavirus briefings have provided the U.S. with less information about the country’s response to the coronavirus and more content for actual face-palms and anti-Trump campaign ads.
Even more shocking, it seems like at every press briefing he tries to rewrite the history of his own comments — many of which he said only 24 hours prior.
Most recently, Trump was confronted over his previous statement regarding using disinfectant as a cure for COVID-19 and the resulting spike in emergency hotline calls across the U.S. At a briefing on April 27, a reporter raised the topic, to which Trump took no responsibility and went so far as to say “I can’t imagine why.”
When asked if he “take[s] any responsibility if someone were to die” because of this, Trump replied, “No, I don’t.”
According to Newsweek, Maryland, New York, and Michigan have all reported spikes in calls to Poison Control regarding an unhealthy exposure to disinfectant products. New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene told NPR that they saw a record 30 calls about disinfectants, “specifically  about exposure to Lysol, 10 cases specifically about bleach and 11 cases about exposures to other household cleaners.”
To refresh your memory, Trump made the dangerous comments regarding disinfectant at a press conference on April 23. He said,
“I see the disinfectant that 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? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”
(When I hear him say things like this, I sigh the way Jan and David would audibly sigh into the speakerphone when they were talking to Michael Scott on The Office, but I digress)
In the days following the press conference, health professionals, disinfectant product manufacturers, and even Joe Biden have issued warnings to people about the dangers of drinking or injecting disinfectants.
Trump later claimed that he was merely being “sarcastic.”
But the problem (somehow) goes deeper than his ignorance and refusal to take responsibility for his actions. It also comes as a result of his unwillingness to actually do his job. A CNN article chronicled Trump’s day leading up to the April 23 briefing, particularly how he skipped the preceding task force meeting (as he often does) and got a watered-down overview of topics discussed. There was information about UV light and disinfectants discussed in the meeting, but Trump didn’t bother to learn the details before rattling off his version of them to the entire nation.
There are so many layers to Trump that it would be impossible to determine the exact reasoning for his avoidance behavior, but it doesn’t matter. He knows his words have influence but, for him, a person’s life isn’t worth the extra 10 minutes it would have taken him to get his facts right before spouting them off to the nation.
Why would we expect him to take responsibility for something he never cared about in the first place?
If you or someone you know has been exposed to dangerous levels of disinfectant, please call Poison Control immediately at 1-(800) 222-1222.
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Aside from being a writer, Ashley is a mom of two girls and a wife to a passionate public school administrator. When she does have free time (cue laughter from working moms everywhere) she loves going to hot yoga classes, watching anything on Netflix that isn’t a cartoon, and weaving her way through every aisle of Target while listening to one of her favorite podcasts.