Gov. Larry Hogan Sunday morning said Maryland’s health officials have received “hundreds” of inquiries about the safety of ingesting cleaning products after President Trump raised the idea as a possible treatment for the coronavirus.
Hogan, who appeared on CBS’ “Face The Nation” and ABC’s “This Week” Sunday morning, said the state’s emergency health hotline that was set up to field questions about the coronavirus pandemic has fielded hundreds of similar questions after the president suggested treating the disease by ingesting household cleaning products.
“I think when misinformation comes out or you just say something that pops into your head it does send a wrong message,” Hogan said on “This Week.” “We had hundreds of calls come in to our emergency hotline at our health department asking if it what was right to ingest Clorox or alcohol cleaning products, whether that was going to help them fight the virus. So we had to put out that warning to make sure that people were not doing something like that which would kill people.”
The president later claimed he was being sarcastic, although the transcript of his remarks suggests otherwise. Trump also suggested ultraviolet light, even internal light, could be a possible preventative measure, contrary to scientific advice.
The volume of phone calls to the emergency line prompted the Maryland Emergency Management Agency to post a tweet over the weekend that stated in no uncertain terms, “this is a reminder that under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through injection, ingestion or any other route.”
Hogan and Trump have had a somewhat contentious relationship regarding the state’s response to quell the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 disease.
While Trump has continued to claim the federal government’s response to the pandemic has been adequate, if not exemplary, Hogan has stood out as a Republican governor willing to speak out in opposition to the Trump administration.
During his TV appearances, Hogan continued to push Trump to focus on more “fact based” evidence during his daily press briefings about the coronavirus.
“The president has to focus on the message, stick to a message and make sure these press conferences are fact based,” Hogan said on “This Week.”
It was a message he mirrored on “Face the Nation” with Margaret Brennan, where the governor said that Trump should focus on the disease during the briefings.
“I think you saw a different briefing yesterday where the president didn’t take questions,” Hogan said. “We didn’t have a two-hour-long press conference that went off into different topics.”
“And perhaps that’s indicating a different strategy,” he continued. “And I think maybe some of his advisers are suggesting that maybe a different communication policy might be more helpful.”
On Friday, as the U.S. death toll passed the 50,000 mark, the Food and Drug Administration issued an alert about the dangers of using a malaria drug that Trump has repeatedly promoted for coronavirus patients.
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Hogan also pushed back on an idea proposed by Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell that states who are facing severe financial hardships should file for bankruptcy, saying that McConnell will “regret” suggesting the idea.
During an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, the Senate Majority Leader said he’d “certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route,” adding he would not be in favor of lending the state’s more federal funding, despite bipartisan support to do so.
“We have a commitment from the president and the vice president and there’s bipartisan legislation in the Senate to do something to help support the states,” Hogan said Sunday. “I just said I thought that Mitch McConnell probably would regret making that comment the other day. I think it just slipped out.”
Hogan did not criticize other states that have begun to lift certain restrictions during the pandemic, saying in response to a question from “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos “I don’t want to second guess my colleagues.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp lifted restrictions on a number of nonessential businesses last week, which drew criticism from across the political aisle, including President Trump, despite his previous vocal support for lifting such restrictions.
“I think that various governors are making decisions on what they think is best for their state,” Hogan said. “I’m going to be very cautious. We’re going to make decisions based on science.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.