President Donald Trump abruptly ended his daily coronavirus briefing on Friday, walking out without answering any questions from the press, just a day after he suggested injecting disinfectant as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
At Thursday’s White House briefing, Trump had commented: “I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in one minute.. .. Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning?”
Early Friday, after widespread media coverage of his dangerous treatment idea, Trump walked back his statement by claiming he had been “asking a question sarcastically to reporters … just to see what would happen.”
At Friday afternoon’s briefing — which lasted a total of about 20 minutes — Trump spoke briefly before passing the podium to a Food and Drug Administration official and then Vice President Mike Pence. After Pence spoke, all the officials walked out as some reporters yelled out questions to the president, which went unanswered.
Previous daily White House briefings have gone on for up to two hours, with long periods of questions and answers between reporters and Trump.
The president allegedly plans to cut back these coronavirus briefings as soon as next week, reported Axios on Friday — possibly not appearing every day or staying for shorter periods of time.
The briefings are an essential way for reporters to ask questions of the Trump administration, which has been criticized for its response to the pandemic.
Reporters only got to ask one question at Friday’s briefing, one directed at FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn, who spoke about antibody tests.
Earlier Friday, RB, the company that makes Lysol products, issued a statement urging people not to inject disinfectants to treat coronavirus, after Trump’s said at previous day’s briefing, it “would be interesting to check that.”
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency also had to remind residents not to use disinfectant to treat COVID-19 on Friday. The state’s emergency hotline received more than 100 calls asking about fake disinfectant cures, tweeted Mike Ricci, communications director of the Maryland governor’s office.