President Donald Trump has reportedly been lying low through the weekend, both in celebration of First Lady Melania Trump's 50th birthday today and in response to reaction to his Thursday comments on disinfectants and light as possible cures for COVID-19.
He has, however, been busy on Twitter through the weekend.
"Happy Birthday to Melania, our great First Lady!" he Tweeted on @realDonaldTrump at about 9 a.m. today.
His focus, however, was apparently on the overwhelmingly negative response of the media to his April 23 comments in response to comments made by acting Department of Homeland Secretary William "Bill" Bryan.
"So I asked 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," Trump said following Bryan's comments during the Thursday Coronavirus Task Force press briefing. "So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that 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. It sounds interesting."
"We’ll get to the right folks who could," Bryan responded.
"Right," the president said. "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 would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — 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 — that’s pretty powerful."
The backlash was almost immediate and widespread.
"What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately," the president Tweeted this weekend. "They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!"
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued the following statement;
“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.”
Later in the day, asked by a reporter, "Can you clarify your comments about injections of disinfectant?" Trump replied, "No, I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you, just to see what would happen.
"Now, disinfectant, or doing this, maybe on the hands, would work. And I was asking the question of the gentleman who was there yesterday — Bill — because when they say that something will last three or four hours or six hours, but if the sun is out or if they use disinfectant, it goes away in less than a minute. Did you hear about this yesterday? But I was asking a sarcastic — and a very sarcastic question — to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside. But it does kill it and it would kill it on the hands and that would make things much better. That was done in the form of a sarcastic question to the reporters. Okay."
Beginning Saturday, the president's frustration was made apparent in a series of Tweets:
- The Do Nothing Democrats are spending much of their money on Fake Ads. I never said that the CoronaVirus is a “Hoax”, I said that the Democrats, and the way they lied about it, are a Hoax. Also, it did start with “one person from China”, and then grew, & will be a “Miracle” end!
- If the Wall Street Journal “Editorial” writers had called, as they should have, they would have easily found that I was “NOT happy with the Georgia Governor on Tuesday night.” You said the opposite, and got it wrong as you often do!
- Was just informed that the Fake News from the Thursday White House Press Conference had me speaking & asking questions of Dr. Deborah Birx. Wrong, I was speaking to our Laboratory expert, not Deborah, about sunlight etc. & the CoronaVirus. The Lamestream Media is corrupt & sick!
- I never said the pandemic was a Hoax! Who would say such a thing? I said that the Do Nothing Democrats, together with their Mainstream Media partners, are the Hoax. They have been called out & embarrassed on this, even admitting they were wrong, but continue to spread the lie!
Earlier on Saturday, his Twitter feed sounded more positive:
- We have now Tested more than 5 Million People. That is more than any other country in the World, and even more than all major countries combined!
- It is a wonderful feeling to know that our States are loaded up with Ventilators, many brand new and high quality just off of our production lines, and that we are now in a position to help other countries that so desperately need them. Every person needing a Ventilator got one!
- Just spoke to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia. His Country needs Ventilators, and the U.S. is in good position to help him. We will!
Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union" today, Dr. Deborah Birx, the president's Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator, told host Jake Tapper that the president's comments were "musings" expressed in a dialogue with Bryan.
"It bothers me that this is still in the news cycle, because I think we’re missing the bigger pieces of what we need to be doing as an American people to continue to protect one another. As a scientist and a public health official and a researcher, sometimes I worry that we don’t get the information to the American people that they need when we continue to bring up something that was from Thursday night.”
Dr. Birx went on to say she had made it clear to the president that injected disinfectant was not a treatment, but added, “that kind of dialogue will happen.”