He's marketed steaks and real estate, board games and vodka, but nothing the incorrigible salesman has tried to hawk measures up to his latest routine as he speculated on a possible new cure
For most of his life as a pitchman, Trump has only had his own reputation on the line. But now, in the middle of a generational health crisis, lives are at stake.
In an eye-popping moment, Trump doubled down on his claim that sunlight and the festering humidity of high summer could purge the virus in his latest grab for a game-changer therapy.
Then, he asked aides on camera whether zapping patients with light or injecting disinfectant into the lungs to clean sick patients from inside could cure them of the disease.
"Maybe you can, maybe you can't. Again I say maybe you can, maybe you can't. I'm not a doctor. I'm like a person who has a good you-know-what," Trump said, pointing to his head.
That led the Reckitt Benckiser Group, which produces Lysol, to flatly announce on its website
that "under no circumstance" should disinfectant be administered into the human body. Washington state's emergency management agency warned against eating Tide pods or injecting disinfectant, tweeting
, "don't make a bad situation worse."
Trump's comments made his extravagant claims for the unproven use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine seem peer-reviewed by comparison. And they were ironic, given rising criticism that he repeatedly discredits science
that conflicts with his rosy claims the pandemic will soon be over.
Trump's bizarre performance came as the horrible dilemma he faces between keeping the economy closed to halt the virus and getting people back to work became even more stark.
New data Thursday showed that 26 million Americans have lost their jobs in five weeks
, reflecting the terrible human impact the current emergency can have even on people who don't get sick. The number of US deaths moved towards 50,000 as the virus dug into more communities -- even as a clutch of states laid plans to open back up.