Fauci feared Americans may ‘start doing dangerous and foolish things’ after Trump suggested ‘injecting’ bleach

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Chris Riotta
·3 min read
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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, was in a state of shock when he first heard former President Donald Trump’s comments about disinfectant working as a potential remedy to Covid-19.

“I just said, 'Oh my goodness gracious,’” he recalled in a CNN interview about that day in April, when Mr Trump suggested bleach could act as a therapeutic to the novel virus from behind the White House podium.

“I could just see what’s going to happen,” Dr Fauci added. “You’re going to have people who hear that from the president and they’re going to start doing dangerous and foolish things.”

The nation’s leading epidemiologist has been back in the headlines following President Joe Biden’s inauguration, acknowledging in multiple interviews how he was “blocked” from speaking with certain outlets like MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show by the previous administration.

He has since spoken out about what it was like serving on Mr Trump’s coronavirus response task force at the White House, where he said the former president was receiving both “good information and bad information" about the ongoing crisis.

By the end of his administration, the former president had largely removed scientists and leading infectious disease experts from his inner circle, instead focusing on counsel from his ex-chief strategist Steve Bannon, and Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow — yet Dr Fauci remained in his post until Mr Biden was sworn in last week.

“Unfortunately, the concept of anecdotal as opposed to science-driven information seemed to prevail," Dr Fauci told CNN about the previous administration, adding: “I took no great pleasure out of contradicting the President, but I had to get out just to maintain my own integrity, but also to stand up for science that the data did not show what they were claiming."

Mr Trump was speaking about potential coronavirus treatments as the outbreak swept across the country last year when he told reporters: “Then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute.”

He then looked over at his team — Dr Fauci was not present at the time — and posed the following question: “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,” he continued, “so it’d be interesting to check that.”

State and local health officials came out swiftly after the former president spoke last year at the White House press conference, warning against injecting or otherwise consuming disinfectants like bleach. Even leading disinfectant companies like Lysol and Clorox released urgent warnings to customers against using their products as potential therapeutics for the novel virus.

Some officials said their states received hundreds of calls from residents with inquiries about whether disinfectants worked when ingested in the body to prevent Covid-19, as CNN noted, including Maryland’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan.

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