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It’s a sad time to be a Trump loyalist

This is what they are reduced to: Right-wing radio talker Hugh Hewitt vowed never to buy Lysol again after the company publicly warned that its disinfectant products should not be ingested in an effort to fight the coronavirus.

Trump mural
A mural of President Donald Trump holding a bottle of Domestos, a British household cleaner, is seen in the garden of Dave Nash of Gnasher Murals in Royston, Britain.
REUTERS/Matthew Childs

It’s a sad time to be a Trump loyalist. This is what they are reduced to:

Right-wing radio talker Hugh Hewitt vowed never to buy Lysol again after the company that makes it publicly warned that its disinfectant products should not be ingested in an effort to fight the coronavirus.

Lysol’s UK-based maker, Reckitt Benckiser, issued the warning, in what might be called an excess of caution, after President Donald Trump used one of his live briefings last week to ask aloud whether disinfectants could be studied for potential use by injection inside the body against the virus.

To be fair to Trump, he did not literally suggest that anyone buy Lysol or any other disinfectant and drink it to fight off or prevent Covid. But (and you knew there was a big but coming) Trump’s totally unnecessary and incoherent remarks on the subject of disinfectants and their power to kill viruses led to concern that some frightened Americans might try to immunize themselves or treat their symptoms by ingesting disinfectants.

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Since the company sells many disinfectants, it decided to issue a statement urging people to please, please, under no circumstances ingest any of their products. It carefully neither mentioned nor said anything derogatory about the current occupant of the Oval Office.

But Hewitt, who actually seems quite smart and could certainly have figured out why Lysol’s maker issued such a warning (and really, what’s the harm of such a reminder, that you shouldn’t drink disinfectants) decided to take the warning as an unfair attack on his hero, Trump.

Here’s what Trump said (and he obviously had no need to go down this path, or use his daily briefings to speculate about such things rather than let the doctors and scientists do it):

Trump: “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in 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’d be interesting to check that, so that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me.”

Again, Trump did not recommend drinking Lysol or any other disinfectant, but it is not ridiculous for disinfectant sellers to worry that this incoherent totally unnecessary word salad issuing forth from the White House might cause some concerned makers and sellers of disinfectants to want to underscore that its products should not be ingested (nor, for that matter, “injected”) into humans, which Trump actually did say.

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If you are so biased in favor of excusing Trump’s crazy, dangerous rants that you focus on the detail that Trump didn’t exactly suggest drinking Lysol, what about his musing about the possible benefits of “injection [of disinfectants] inside?”)

Here’s the Reckitt Benckiser statement (see if you can find a syllable in this that is objectionable):

Improper use of Disinfectants

Due to recent speculation and social media activity, RB (the makers of Lysol and Dettol) has been asked whether internal administration of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).  As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information.

We have a responsibility in providing consumers with access to accurate, up-to-date information as advised by leading public health experts. For this and other myth-busting facts, please visit Covid-19facts.com.

For more information on our response to COVID-19, visit this link: Coronavirus information.

Trump himself should surely have seconded the message, as soon as possible, and perhaps should learn the lesson to be more careful about throwing around speculation on possible COVID treatments and defer to the scientists and doctors.

But instead, at least to Hewitt (who once had me on his show to attack me for disrespecting Michele Bachmann), any effort by the maker of Lysol to make sure people didn’t self-medicate by swallowing disinfectants was a cause to vow in front of his audience: “I’m never buying Lysol again.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper also rehashed Trump’s musing about disinfectants, at the end of yesterday’s edition of “State of the Union.” He slammed those Trump allies who attempt to distort or explain away such ridiculous medical advice from the Trumpian mouth. Here’s what Tapper said:

We’re running out of words to describe this era. Republicans in Congress and in the Trump administration know that not only is the president failing to rise to this moment to, for example, get the nation on a path to wide spread testing, the president’s now making open ponderings about treatments that experts worry could actually harm people.

(Trump’s) … anti-scientific musings have been dangerous. We saw this with his weeks of downplaying the virus. Two months ago today the president said he’d done a good job since the U.S. had only 15 cases which would soon go down to almost zero. Then the president was pushing the use of hydroxychloroquine. ‘What have you got to lose?’ he said. Well the FDA on Friday issued a caution against the use of that drug outside a hospital or a clinical trial due to the risk of heart rhythm problems.

Republican leaders need to acknowledge the reality of the situation. They need to intervene. They need to convince President Trump to defer to the experts and focus on the needs of not his ego but the sick and the dying and the people trying to care for them.

There is going to be a history of this era written and those who are pretending this irresponsibility is not happening, they will be remembered as villains.

The above is from Tapper, who may be suspected of some liberal bias I suppose, but who is actually a serious journalist who, like many others, is trying to figure out how to play the old game by the old rules when you have a president like Trump who regularly says things so stupid, crazy or wrong that you don’t feel you have the option of just quoting them noting what Tapper cautiously alluded to as “the reality of the situation.”

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As for me, I’ll defend to the death Trump’s right to express his views, and to purchase the disinfectants of his choice and pour them into the orifice of his choice. (Actually, freedom of disinfectant choice is not mentioned in the Bill of Rights, but perhaps it’s implied.)