Facebook Fact-Checker: Trump ‘Did NOT Urge People to Inject Disinfectants’

April 27th, 2020 12:25 PM

A Facebook fact-checking partner determined that President Donald Trump did not tell people to inject themselves with disinfectants to cure the coronavirus.

Lead Stories, a fact-checking outlet run by former CNN employees, took a video from popular Facebook page March for Science and found it to be a “false accusation.” The video, which has since been taken down, stated, “The President just suggested injecting disinfectant could clean the lungs and light and heat could cure coronavirus.” This was found to be an incorrect statement in the piece, “Fact Check: Trump Did NOT Urge People To Inject Disinfectants To Thwart Coronavirus.”

Even though an official Facebook fact-checker had debunked the statement that Trump had urged people to inject disinfectant, multiple news outlets ran stories relying on that headline. New York Magazine’s Intelligencer said, “At his Thursday press conference, President Trump suggested that using disinfectants — which are generally harmful to the human body, or poisonous if consumed in large quantities — may help patients flush the virus from their system.” NBC News also wrote that Trump had “suggested the possibility of an ‘injection’ of disinfectant into a person.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that “The President is asking people to inject Lysol into their lungs,” in a press conference.

In the fact-check, former CNN news editor Tom Watkins wrote, “So, did the President suggest injecting oneself with disinfectants as a way of fighting coronavirus? No, he did not, and authorities appeared unanimous in rejecting such behavior as dangerous and potentially lethal.”

Trump said in an April 23 press conference, “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. 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 would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with.”

Watkins wrote that “President Trump did suggest that researchers look into the possibility that such behavior could prove useful.” These comments were made, according to Watkins, after Trump had listened to a presentation from Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Science and Technology William Bryan.

Bryan had said in his statement, “We’re also testing disinfectants readily available. We’ve tested bleach, we’ve tested isopropyl alcohol on the virus, specifically in saliva or in respiratory fluids. And I can tell you that bleach will kill the virus in five minutes; isopropyl alcohol will kill the virus in 30 seconds, and that’s with no manipulation, no rubbing — just spraying it on and letting it go.”

Watkins noted that Trump was enthused about the presentation. He also found that Trump even had a disclaimer: he was not a doctor.

In the press conference, Trump even walked back the notion of injection, saying, “It wouldn’t be through injection. We’re talking about through almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area.”