President Donald Trump said Monday that he takes no responsibility for any spike in people using disinfectants improperly after dangerously suggesting last week that ingesting it could serve as a coronavirus treatment.
Asked about the increase during a White House news conference, Trump said: “I can’t imagine why.”
When asked if he takes any responsibility for the spike, Trump answered: “No, I don’t.”
“I can’t imagine why,” Mr Trump said when informed of Governor Larry Hogan’s comments about calls there. Mr Hogan is a Republican.
The president on Friday denied seriously suggesting people consume toxic materials after later in Thursday’s briefing saying disinfectant could kill the virus but not via injections.
“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters … to see what would happen,” the president said Friday, claiming he was both asking a sarcastic question to coronavirus task force member Deborah Birx and asking his medical advisers to examine the impact sunlight has on the virus, not disinfectants, after a health official had described a study suggesting ultraviolet rays quickly kill Covid-19 cells.
Since Trump’s remarks last week, multiple cities and states have reported a spike in calls to poison control centers about exposure to disinfectant, forcing officials and the makers of cleaning products to issue warnings about ingesting such chemicals.
The New York City Poison Control Center received 30 calls about exposure to household chemicals in the 18 hours after Trump’s remarks, compared to only 13 during the same period last year.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Sunday that his office had received “hundreds of calls” seeking guidance on Trump’s suggestion even after the state’s Emergency Management Agency issued a warning last week about ingesting disinfectant.