A former member of Donald Trump’s White House coronavirus task force has lifted the lid on what went down behind the scenes when the then-president talked on national TV last year about injecting disinfectant to combat the coronavirus.
“We’re in shock. You could see everyone looking around the room, saying, ‘Did he really just say that?’” recalled Olivia Troye, a former aide to then-Vice President Mike Pence, in a video released Saturday by the Republican Accountability Project, an anti-Trump conservative organization.
Troye said the task force on April 23, 2020, had wanted to communicate during its televised presser “that the mitigations and the 45 days to slow the spread had worked and the numbers had dropped.”
But Trump got excited by a pre-press conference briefing from the Department of Homeland Security that showed “sunshine and cleaners could potentially reduce the number of hours that a virus can live on a surface.”
Addressing the media soon after, Trump suggested testing “very powerful light” inside the body and disinfectant given “by injection” as ways to kill the virus.
“After the press briefing, Dr. [Deborah] Birx (Trump’s COVID-19 response coordinator) walks through the door and looks straight at me and says, ‘Why was he talking to me? I have nothing to do with that setting. He just threw away all of the work we’ve done,’” recalled Troye, who was in the room next to where Trump was making his comments.
Trump later claimed his comments were “sarcastic,” but Troye remembered the fallout ― having to think of how best to mitigate people taking Trump at his word and subsequent reports of people swallowing or gargling bleach to ward off COVID-19.
“Trump and Trumpism still has a strong hold on the Republican Party. He has hinted at running in 2024. That is why we need to remember moments like this,” Troye concluded. “Because we can’t allow him or someone like him to ever hold power again.”
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