Sulky Trump says briefings 'aren't worth the effort' after disinfectant fiasco

Donald Trump has hit out at the ‘lamestream media’, complaining that his press briefings on coronavirus are ‘not worth the time and effort’.

The outburst comes following widespread ridicule of his suggestion that chemical disinfectants could potentially be injected to treat Covid-19, which was so alarming it prompted warnings from manufacturers and the nation’s top medical professionals.

The White House claimed that Trump was misinterpreted, although the president later asserted he was speaking ‘sarcastically’.

Tweeting on Saturday, one of the few days in which he has not held a daily briefing since the start of the outbreak, he said: ‘What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately’.

The president dramatically refused to take journalists’ questions on Friday during a daily briefing, which can sometimes run to two hours long. He exited the room within seconds of Vice President Mike Pence’s update on the government’s efforts to tackle the crisis.

According to reports, Trump is planning to ‘pare back’ his press conference appearances from next week. He has been spending up to two hours a day at the podium, and frequently clashes with reporters when grilled about his alleged mishandling of the crisis, which has so far killed over 50,000 Americans.

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White House sources told Axios that Trump may stop appearing at the podium every day, and that any appearances he does make will be much shorter.

On Friday, The New York Times reported that Trump sees the question and answer sessions as a way of reaching out to supporters because of ongoing social distancing measures that have stopped him holding re-election rallies.

But Trump’s free-wheeling style backfired spectacularly on Thursday when he suggested intravenous disinfectant treatments – or pulsing light under the skin – as potential treatments for Covid-19.

He said: ‘Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light? And I think you said, that hasn’t been checked out, but you’re going to test it.’

The president, who has no scientific qualifications, then added: ‘And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that too.

‘And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that? By injection inside, or almost a cleaning.

‘As you see, it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that.’

Trump’s remarks quickly drew condemnation from doctors and disinfectant manufacturers, who warned that ingesting or injecting disinfectant could cause serious harm or death.

The president then attempted to downplay the comments as he signed an economic rescue package at the White House on Friday, saying: ‘I was asking a sarcastic — and a very sarcastic question — to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside.

‘But it does kill it, and it would kill it on the hands and that would make things much better.

‘That was done in the form of a sarcastic question to the reporters.’

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