Suggesting that people drink bleach is obviously an outrageous thing for the President of the United States to have said. Here’s a history of Trump’s other notable lies and misleading statements on medical and scientific matters.
Since January 20, 2017, the United States and the world have been subjected to endless fibs and misleading claims coming from the Oval Office and the man sitting inside it, Donald Trump. Trump’s relentless mendacity has kept journalists busy, and provided fact-checking websites with increased traffic.
This is an unprecedented time in American presidential history, to say the least. Sure, Presidents have lied or misled the public in the past. But never did it compare with the volume of fibs and outrageous claims coming from this White House. And while Trump and previous presidents have lied on both domestic and foreign policy issues, Trump is the only one who has lied consistently about science, disputing scientific evidence and conclusions.
In the middle of this coronavirus pandemic, Trump has dangerously offered medical advice that shocks medical experts. His statements have been dangerous, encouraging individuals to take actions that can harm their health and in some cases be life-threatening. This can burden the already fragile hospitals across the United States and elsewhere in the world.
Trump’s most recent misleading (to say the least) statement relates to his suggestion that the scientific community develop methods to inject disinfectants into the human body. Trump, seeing that disinfectants are able to kill the virus on surfaces and hands, seemed to think that they could also be used inside the human body to kill the virus.
One particular piece of medical advice that Trump gave out ended up killing people. In Nigeria, hospitals recorded a huge spike in chloroquine poisoning, and people stocking up on chloroquine medication. This happened after Trump claimed that the Food and Drug Administration ‘approved’ the use of cholorquine to treat the coronavirus.
These recent crazy suggestions of Trump have worried his own team to the point that they are making what CNN reported to be a ‘concerted effort’ to get the President off the daily press briefings. Joe Biden has pleaded with the public not to take Trump’s latest medical advice, tweeting the following:
Trump often ended up derailing his own press conferences. Instead of giving the American public the information on the coronavirus they badly need, the White House press briefings on the coronavirus have become another stage for Trump’s campaigning and his fights with the media.
After his poor performance following several briefings, and his dropping poll numbers, Trump finally announced in a tweet that the press briefings are “not worth the time & effort”:
This is not the first time that Trump has offered his own “expert” opinion on matters of medicine and science. His misleading statements on science began almost immediately after assuming the presidency in 2017.
In addition to his imaginative and unfounded suggestions for coronavirus treatments, Trump has notoriously claimed that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese. At his direction, his administration rolled back many of the environmental regulations implemented by the Obama administration on air and water. His administration even prohibited the Environmental Protection Agency from mentioning the words “climate change” on their website. He pulled the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, and skipped the G7 climate change discussions. Trump nominated oil executives such as Rex Tillerson to the cabinet, and chose climate change denier Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA. Other environmental regulations that Trump reversed include offshore drilling regulations, allowing pipeline construction to proceed (while limiting the states’ ability to block it), and allowing increased logging on public land.
Trump also suggested that wind turbines cause cancer. The American Cancer Society has already clarified that this statement is factually inaccurate. In Iowa, where wind power usage is the highest in the United States, 99% of the residents disagree with the statement that Trump made.
In another “unorthodox” view on science, Trump somehow believes that exercise is bad for your health. He claimed that exercise depletes the “finite” amount of energy the body has for other activities. Thus, he seems to believe that humans operate like batteries. Given the fact that he is clinically obese, at least he practices what he preaches when he expresses his belief that exercise is bad for one’s health. (Still, I don’t believe Trump is somebody you would want to go to for medical advice.)
Another inexplicable statement from Trump is his belief that hurricanes can somehow be ‘nuked’ in order to prevent a hurricane from hitting the ground. He suggested dropping a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane, hopefully disrupting the path of the hurricane. The White House response to this was a non-denial denial, stating that ‘”We don’t comment on private discussions that the president may or may not have had with his national security team.” Such a formal response probably suggests that Trump did in fact make that remark. He also notoriously altered, with a sharpie, the written projected path of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, in order to include Alabama.
Trump’s war on science has put the coronavirus pandemic response in peril. He consistently pushes his own pseudoscience beliefs and ignores the excellent scientists he has at his disposal. For example, he wants social distancing guidelines to be relaxed in order to have the country opened by Easter, ignoring the warnings from Dr. Anthony Fauci and other members of the coronavirus task force. His latest comments on bleach are extremely dangerous, as New York poison control reported an increase in bleach poisonings after the comments made by Trump.
It is beyond clear that Trump should step aside and allow the scientists leading the pandemic response to provide the country with the information and support that a government should be providing its people.