President Trump ripped Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker on Thursday for questioning whether he was telling people to go outside.
The exchange came after Bill Bryan, head of the Department of Homeland Security's science and technology division, discussed findings of a collaborative study on the coronavirus.
“Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that solar light appears to have on killing the virus, both surfaces and in the air. We’ve seen a similar effect with both temperature and humidity as well, where increasing the temperature and humidity or both is generally less favorable to the virus,” he said.
Later, Bryan said their findings should not take away from the guidelines set forth by the White House and CDC for people to protect themselves.
“This is just another tool in our tool belt, right? Another weapon in the fight that we can add to it and in the summer we know that summer light conditions are going to create an environment where the transmission can be decreased and that’s an opportunity for us to get ahead,” he added.
Later on, Rucker asked Trump if it’s “dangerous” for him to discuss the study’s findings on heat and humidity.
“[I]s it dangerous for you to make people think they would be safe by going outside in the heat, considering that so many people are dying in Florida, considering that this virus has had an outbreak in Singapore, places that are hot and humid?” he asked.
“Here we go. Here we go. The new headline is 'Trump asks people to go outside. That’s dangerous.' Here we go. Same old group,” Trump replied. “You ready? I hope people enjoy the sun, and if it has an impact, that’s great.”
Rucker persisted in his line of questioning.
“But, essentially, you’re the president and people tuning in to these briefings they want to get information and guidance and want to know what to do. They’re not looking for rumors,” he said.
“Hey, Phil. I’m the president and you’re fake news,” Trump fired back. “And you know what I’ll say to you, I’ll say very nicely… I know you well. I know you well because I know the guy, I see what he writes. He’s a total faker. So are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready? It’s just a suggestion from a brilliant lab by a very, very smart, perhaps brilliant man. He’s talking about sun, he’s talking about heat and you see the numbers. So, that’s it. That’s all I have. I’m just here to present talent. I’m here to present ideas. Because we want ideas to get rid of this thing and if heat is good, and if sunlight is good, that’s a great thing as far as I’m concerned.”
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