US president Donald Trump cut short his daily White House press briefing Friday without taking a single question, the day after he was criticised for comments about treating coronavirus patients by injecting disinfectant.
The press briefing lasted 22 minutes, the shortest so far, with Trump sharing the stage with other officials instead of holding court for up to two hours like he has on some days.
White House officials have reportedly begun discussing ways to curtail the President's role and cut back on daily briefings, according to four White House officials and Republicans close to the White House who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Daily Mail reported.
Yesterday, Trump had given a lengthy briefing to the media, at one point suggesting it might be possible to treat coronavirus by injecting people with sunlight or disinfectants. The President was heavily criticised for the dangerous suggestion that disinfectants be put into the human body, with the maker of Lysol - a leading cleaning disinfectant - asking the public to not put its product into their bodies.
"I see the disinfectant - where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?" Trump asked White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx during Thursday's briefing.
In his bizarre, and potentially fatal, outburst, Trump suggested people should inject themselves with "disinfectant" and hit "the body with light" to cure coronavirus.
The millionaire real estate mogul turned US president then added: "I'm not a doctor".
"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 but you're going to test it," Trump asked a homeland security official.
"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. Sounds interesting," Trump said.
"And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it 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," he added.
"So that you're going to have to use medical doctors. But it sounds interesting to me."
Bleach and isopropyl alcohol - agents commonly used to kill the virus in the environment and surfaces - are toxic to the body when ingested, even in small amounts.
Experts had to jump in and strongly warn people against following Trump's suggestions.
Trump had also taken questions from the press while signing a coronavirus relief spending bill earlier in the day.
He said he had been "sarcastic" when he proposed treating coronavirus patients by injecting disinfectant. Trump said he was just pitching the idea to reporters to "see what would happen" – but then admitted he also spoke to government experts about it and they were exploring it.
"I was asking the question sarcastically to reporters like you, just to see what would happen," Trump said.