House Oversight top Democrat Raskin promotes discredited Trump bleach claim at Fauci hearing

President Biden did same thing on campaign trail this year, called out by fact-check.

Published: June 3, 2024 11:24am

Updated: June 3, 2024 11:55am

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin on Monday repeated a false claim during a House Oversight Committee hearing about then-President Trump telling people to inject themselves with bleach to protect against COVID-19 infection.

Raskin, referring to Trump, now the presumptive GOP presidential candidate, said people who 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."

Raskin is a Maryland congressman and the top Democrat on the committee. The hearing Monday is on the issue of the federal government's transparency in its COVID pandemic response and includes testimony from then NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.

President Biden experienced an embarrassing fact-check by left-leaning PolitiFact when he twice made such a claim in March about Trump and bleach injections. 

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," he said.

The White House told PolitiFact that Biden was referring to an April 23, 2020, White House press briefing where William Bryan, undersecretary for science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security, "publicly share[d] his team’s observations about the virus’ survival under certain conditions."

Bryan said cleaning agents such as bleach can kill SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces, and with exposure to UV rays, its "half-life goes from six hours to two minutes." He used the word "inject" to describe UV exposure.

Trump repeated Bryan's "inject" phrasing when asking whether researchers could 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 COVID.

Bryan quickly corrected his "inject" terminology when asked by a reporter, and Trump responded: "It wouldn’t be through injections, almost a cleaning and sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work, but it certainly has a big effect if it’s on a stationary object."

The Trump administration challenged the media portrayal of the president's comments at the time and his campaign did so again after Biden resurrected them on the campaign trail.

"It's more misinformation and lies from President Biden," press secretary Karoline Leavitt told WRAL-TV.

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