During his four years as president, Donald Trump held some bizarre press conferences. But he outdid himself one year ago today. On April 24, 2020, Trump suggested that the coronavirus could be treated by injecting disinfectant, like bleach, into the body.
“And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute,” he said. “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.” Trump later claimed he was being “sarcastic,” but there was a rise in accidental poisonings following his comments. Lysol even released a statement begging customers to not drink their poisonous products.
“For me, it was the craziest and most surreal moment I had ever witnessed in a presidential press conference,” ABC’s chief Washington correspondent Jon Karl told Politico about Trump’s medical musings, while a former staffer added, “A few of us actually tried to stop it in the West Wing hallway. I actually argued that President Trump wouldn’t have the time to absorb it and understand it. But I lost, and it went how it did.”
“Undoubtedly [it was] a seminal moment in presidential communications, and while it is easy to laugh it off, I hope it educates leaders and communicators for decades,” said former Obama White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. “But this was the moment where we knew without any doubt that the government was in way over its head, and its ability to both respond effectively and educate Americans about what to do was not going to be anywhere close to meeting the moment.”
One year (and 570,000 deaths) later, people are still in disbelief about the briefing.
Happy first anniversary to the single greatest presidential press briefing in American history. https://t.co/CRlIRoIL3N
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) April 23, 2021
Happy Bleach Remembrance Daypic.twitter.com/XTyFy3bXCS
— MichaelRapaport (@MichaelRapaport) April 23, 2021
Happy Bleach Injection Day, for those who celebrate.
— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) April 23, 2021
A year ago: ingesting bleach is suggested as a COVID cure
Now: new president sets an ambitious goal of 200 million vaccinations – and hits the goal
Leadership matters https://t.co/C2VGguEjWO
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) April 23, 2021
A year ago today Trump said inject yourself with bleach.
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) April 23, 2021
Happy one year anniversary of National Swallow Bleach Day!
— AsherWhites (@AsherWhites) April 23, 2021
— Ellie Hall (@ellievhall) April 23, 2021
As with the Challenger explosion and 9–11, I remember where I was when I viewed this, thinking that the governance of a superpower was now the best executed SNL sketch since Belushi and Pryor dressed as samurai. https://t.co/6XfcZQbOiI via @politico
— David Simon (@AoDespair) April 23, 2021
It’s the first anniversary of the time when the President of the United States publicly instructed his senior medical advisors to investigate curing #COVID19 by using warm ultraviolet light and bleach injections.
It’s hard to believe this even happened.pic.twitter.com/X6g6zLcAEQ
— Brendan May (@bmay) April 23, 2021