It’s reckless and dangerous for a leader with a habit of doubling down in the face of criticism to brainstorm that wildly on coronavirus treaments

Today my Facebook feed featured memes that mocked Trump for telling people to drink bleach, pour it into their bodily orifices, etc.

He did say some reckless things, but Donald Trump did *not* suggest that people inject bleach, drink disinfectant, or expose their bodily orifices to sunlight.

An opinion on the president is more valuable if it responds to something he actually does say and do.

The truth suffers anytime people share inaccurate memes because “I just thought it was funny,” or “It’s the kind of thing he *would* say.”

Here is part of what he did say:

So, I’m going to ask Bill a question that probably some of you are thinking of if you’re totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting. So, supposing when we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it. And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that too. Sounds interesting. And then I see the disinfectant, where it 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? 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 that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me. So, we’ll see, but the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute. That’s pretty powerful.

ABC’s Jon Karl asked Trump’s Science/Tech cabinet member Bill Bryan, “There’s no scenario where that could be injected into a person, is there?”

Bryan sad, “No,” and Trump then added: “It wouldn’t be through injections, you’re talking about almost a cleaning and sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work, but it certainly has a big affect if it’s on a stationary object.”

The exchange about UV rays was similar, in that Trump is speaking very generally and broadly about the effect of light.

I’m surprised that someone who wants to present himself as the leader of the free world would be willing to take up air time in a live briefing speculating this wildly about something so far outside of his expertise.

It’s reckless and dangerous for a leader with a habit of doubling down in the face of criticism to brainstorm that wildly on a topic of this much significance.

However, it’s just not true that he told people to drink bleach, inject disinfectant, or stick a UV light where the sun don’t shine.

Context for the next time I’m teaching a journalism class:

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