Fox News’ Bret Baier isn’t convinced by President Donald Trump’s Friday claim that he was being sarcastic when he suggested ingesting or injecting disinfectants to treat COVID-19.
“Well, that’s not how it looked in the briefing and not how it came across in the briefing,” Baier said of Trump’s Thursday night statements, which he made to Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, during a press conference.
“What’s problematic for this president is that sometimes he goes on these riffs and when you’re dealing with medical things, statements — when you are riffing from a podium — sometimes that works great on other topics when politics comes into play,” Baier continued. “But when riffing about possible cures or treatments, it didn’t seem like it was coming off as sarcastic when he was talking and turning to Dr. Birx on the side.”
The network’s chief political anchor noted Trump’s comments “spurred all kinds of coverage,” which is true: Trending topics on Twitter Thursday night into Friday afternoon included the words “Clorox,” “Lysol” and “bleach.” Lysol released a statement urging consumers not to ingest their products. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany blamed all that on the media Friday.
“President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing,” McEnany said in a statement. “Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines.”
“Obviously, this is his answer to that criticism,” said Baier of Trump’s walk-back, noting the president “does get himself into these issues.”
Fox Business Network’s Neil Cavuto, too, hit Trump on his own show Friday, saying, “From a lot of medical people with whom I chat, that was a dangerous, crossing-the-line kind of signal that worried them because people could die as a result. Now, he might have said he was sarcastic and flippant and making the comment; I quoted directly from his full remarks. Nothing was taken out of context. I am not part of some fake news media or what-have-you. I want to be very very clear on that. Whether it cuts to the left or the right, I am not here to carry any party’s political water. I am here to help you folks out with what is real and what progress is being made, what is a legitimate issue and what is not. That’s to take nothing away from the president’s health care task force and doing yeoman’s work in trying to get this thing under control, but saying remarks like that really don’t help the matter any.”