President Donald Trump has been facing widespread criticism for suggesting, at a White House press briefing on Thursday, that household disinfectants such as bleach and Lysol might be ingested as a way to ward off the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus — a suggestion so dangerous that in response, the manufacturers of Lysol, Reckitt Benckiser, warned users that their product should only be used as a household disinfectant and should not be ingested under any circumstances. And Washington Post satirist and opinion columnist Alexandra Petri weighs in on the controversy in her column, using biting sarcasm and dark humor to caution her readers against following Trump’s suggestion.
“This should go without saying, but: please, America, don’t inject or put disinfectant inside yourself like the president talked about,” Petri asserts. “It is not good for you. Actually, it is bad.”
Petri goes on stress the fact that Trump never went to medical school.
“He is not a medical doctor, or any other kind of doctor,” Petri writes. “I know that when he gave this advice, he pointed to his head and said he had a great ‘you know what,’ which we think was a reference to his brain. But that is not a medical degree.”
Trump was in the presence of a medical expert, Dr. Deborah Birx, during Thursday’s press briefing; Birx is part of his coronavirus task force, along with the well-respected immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci. But Petri, in her column, points out that even when Trump says something ridiculous, his medical experts don’t necessarily call him on it.
“(Trump) said doctors were looking into them, at his suggestion,” Petri writes. “But we think that is because the doctors feel they have to say ‘yes’ to him, or they will be placed into a corn field and not allowed to address the public.”
Petri stresses that the warning on a bottle of bleach offers much better advice than Trump’s suggestion at his Thursday press conference.
“Again, putting disinfectant inside your body is a bad idea,” Petri writes. “If he were the host of a singing show, people would demand that he no longer be after saying something like that. Please! This should be obvious to anyone who has given even a cursory glance to the side of a bleach bottle or other disinfectant, where it says not to drink it because it is poison. I know it seems counterintuitive, but given the choice to listen to a plastic bottle or the president of the United States, I beg you: listen to the plastic bottle.”