When I was a middle school teacher, I had to take several months off for spinal surgery. The doctors literally “cut my throat” in order to go in and work on my cervical vertebrae. When I returned to school, the kids asked me about the Frankenstein scar on my neck. My answer: the doctors cut my head off, put it in a pan, worked on my spine, sewed my head back on, and sent me home. The ten or fifteen seconds of stunned bemusement before someone yelped, “No, they didn’t!” were priceless. (And yes, I am a Bad Person for lying to my students. I did fess up after they called me on it, so there’s that. Also, the scar healed beautifully. Too bad, really. I loved telling people that story.)
Kids are credulous and gullible, but not stupid. Most — not all, but most — Americans are the same. It didn’t take long for people to react in horror to Trump’s bizarre exhortation to inject themselves with disinfectant. (If you’re an inveterate Trump defender who believes that bad old liberal media is lying again about The Wonder That is Donald, check the link above. There’s video and everything. Of course, you won’t believe it, but I can’t help you with that.)
Here’s what Doctor Trump advised the American people. The setup is a set of comments by someone with actual, functioning intelligence, DHS’s Bill Bryan, spoke about the virus not doing well in warm, humid temperatures. Bryan said, “The virus dies quickest in sunlight,” which triggered a series of speculations in what passes for Trump’s mind.
So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just a very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn’t been checked because of the testing. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that, too.
Why yes, Doctor Sooper Genius, I’ll shove a halogen flashlight up my ass right away. That’s do the trick. But wait, the Doctor is still in da house:
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. Because, you see, it gets on 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, but it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.
Absolutely, Doctor Giggles. This is an awesome idea. I’m making a cocktail of Lysol, Clorox and Scrubbing Bubbles for myself. Maybe I’ll have it for high tea. What do your fellow megaminds think?
Actually, they’re not on board. Dr. Vin Gupta warns:
This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it’s dangerous. It’s a common method that people utilize when they want to kill themselves. … Any amount of bleach or isopropyl alcohol or any kind of common household cleaner is inappropriate for ingestion even in small amounts. Small amounts are deadly.
Other doctors agree:
As a physician, I can’t recommend injecting disinfectant into the lungs or using UV radiation inside the body to treat COVID-19. Don’t take medical advice from Trump. https://t.co/YcZXJXfSxu
— Kashif Mahmood (@kashmood) April 23, 2020
There’s no circumstance under which you should take a disinfectant, or inject a disinfectant for the treatment of anything and certainly not the treatment of coronavirus. … There is absolutely no circumstance in which that is appropriate and it can cause death and very adverse outcomes.
Pulmonologist Dr. John Balmes was very firm on the subject:
Inhaling chlorine bleach would be absolutely the worst thing for the lungs. The airway and lungs are not made to be exposed to even an aerosol of disinfectant. … Not even a low dilution of bleach or isopropyl alcohol is safe. It’s a totally ridiculous concept.
Lysol says don’t ingest their product: “[U]nder no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).”
The EPA (we still have an EPA?) says: “Never apply the product to yourself or others. Do not ingest disinfectant products.”
Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who recently insulted every person of color on the planet, did a tap dance that kinda sorta advised Americans not to shotgun cans of Windex without actually saying so:
A reminder to all Americans- PLEASE always talk to your health provider first before administering any treatment/ medication to yourself or a loved one.
Your safety is paramount, and doctors and nurses are have years of training to recommend what’s safe and effective.
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) April 24, 2020
Joe Biden (D-Reality), who will not ask Americans to inject themselves with bleach or chug isopropyl alcohol, responded:
UV light? Injecting disinfectant?
Here’s an idea, Mr. President: more tests. Now. And protective equipment for actual medical professionals. https://t.co/Zv4Mfs2Z4a
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 24, 2020
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Get Trump Outta Here Stat), who recently discussed removing Trump from office via the 25th Amendment, is concerned about Trump’s mental health. As he should be.
The President suggested injecting Lysol into the human body to treat #COVID19.
Something is very wrong with this guy.
We should be very concerned.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) April 24, 2020
Dr. Frank Wu, a bacterial geneticist, reacted thusly:
Watch a scientist react to Trump’s remarks about using light to fight coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/9cmv0oCGir
— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) April 23, 2020
And historian Kevin Kruse muses on the possibility of gaining super powers:
"Have we tried gamma rays? I hear that makes the body change very strongly, very powerfully. And what about the bite of a radioactive spider? Look, I'm not a doctor, maybe it works, maybe it doesn't, but I think it's something people might be looking into, more and more." https://t.co/z4p3SLdFxa
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) April 24, 2020
Of course, Trump’s new cheerleader/fluffer Kayleigh McEnany says the Bad Old Liberal Media is to blame for the uproar:
President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing. … Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines.
Yes, Kayleigh. He did mention talking to your doctor first. But let’s also remember that Trump is an an anti-vaxxer who advocated that people should ingest fish tank cleanser because it contained chloroquine.
(In mid-March, Trump flatly lied to the country, saying, “We’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately” because it had already been approved by the FDA. It was not approved by the FDA and early studies show chloroquine and its relative, hydroxychloroquine, are ineffective against the virus and dangerous.)
He also thinks wind turbines cause cancer, thinks exercise is debilitating, and thinks a regular flu vaccine should take care of COVID-19.
And now Trump is trying to say he was baiting the press, telling reporters that he “was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.” Sure thing, asshole.
Honestly, this isn’t a stupid question … if you’re six. At some point, everyone probably makes this kind of association between “if this is good there, is it also good there?” That stage of development in which children build on concepts such as object permanence and the development of symbolic thought to engage in constructing a mental model of how the world operates usually happens around the age of seven. It’s part of why children at that age tend to be full of questions as they fill in the gaps in their model. Part of this process also involves pulling together a moral framework. So … Trump obviously missed the entire step.
Gee. We’re getting medical advice about a lethal pandemic from the most powerful person on the planet, who has the cognitive abilities of my five-year old nephew Jeffy, who thinks Elmer’s glue is a taste treat.
Probably my favorite reaction was from Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator:
Here is Dr. Birx's reaction when President Trump asks his science advisor to study using UV light on the human body and injecting disinfectant to fight the coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/MVno5X7JMA
— Daniel Lewis (@Daniel_Lewis3) April 24, 2020
She sat there and watched her boss essentially giving instructions to the American people on how to commit mass suicide, and she…blinked. Blinked. Was she sending messages in Morse Code to savvy viewers? Or was her software downloading new protocols? What didn’t happen was Birx shoving his ignorant ass away from the podium, snapping into the microphone for us not to do any of that, and then resigning her position. Instead, she blinked. Trump even turned to her and asked if she ever heard of using “the heat and the light” to treat the virus. That was your chance, Birx. Your opportunity to properly inform the public. And what did she do? “Not as a treatment,” she stammered. “I mean, certainly, fever is a good thing. When you have a fever, it helps your body respond. But I’ve not seen heat or light.” A satisfied Trump concluded, “I think it’s a great thing to look at.”
No. It isn’t a “great thing to look at,” you gibbering idiot. It’s a great thing to avoid. Trump’s entire presidency has been a great thing to avoid.
The takeaway from this? Well, don’t go guzzling LimeAway or letting the guy at the tanning salon irradiate your liver. Don’t listen to anything the stupid son of a bitch says about anything, except to refute and mock him. And, gee, Mr. Pence, sir…can we consider that 25th Amendment thingamadoodle NOW?