Raskin Repeats Discredited Trump Bleach Claim At House Oversight Hearing

During a House Oversight Committee hearing on Monday, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) reiterated a debunked claim that former President Donald Trump suggested injecting bleach to combat COVID-19. The comment was made in the context of a hearing on federal government transparency in its COVID-19 response, featuring testimony from Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Raskin, the committee’s top Democrat, stated that supporters of Trump, now the GOP presidential frontrunner, are “bowing down to a twice-impeached convicted felon, who told Americans to inject themselves with bleach, now want you to believe not only a big political lie but a big medical lie too.”

This claim mirrors an incorrect statement made by President Biden earlier this year on the campaign trail. Biden was fact-checked by PolitiFact for saying, “Trump told Americans all they had to do was inject bleach in themselves, remember that? Not a joke, you think I am making this up. Just take a shot of UV light.”

The confusion stems from an April 23, 2020, White House briefing where William Bryan, undersecretary for science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security, discussed the impact of disinfectants and UV light on the virus. Bryan mentioned that agents like bleach could kill SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces and that UV rays could significantly reduce the virus’s half-life.

Trump, during the briefing, inquired whether researchers could explore methods to bring “light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way,” or use disinfectant “in the lungs” to neutralize the virus. Bryan quickly clarified his use of “inject,” explaining he referred to UV exposure.

Trump’s comments were widely misinterpreted, leading to persistent media portrayals that he suggested injecting bleach. The Trump administration, and later his campaign, have consistently refuted these claims. Press secretary Karoline Leavitt called Biden’s repetition of the claim “misinformation and lies” to WRAL-TV.

The hearing highlighted ongoing political tensions and the importance of accurate information. Raskin’s comments and the subsequent fact-checking underscore the challenges of navigating public statements made during the pandemic.

As the hearing focused on the transparency of the COVID-19 response, the discussion also reflected broader issues of political accountability and the dissemination of accurate information to the public.

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