A Fox News presenter claimed he hasn’t washed his hands in a decade because “germs don’t exist”.
Pete Hegseth made the bizarre claim to the the Fox and Friends audience on Sunday morning with a justification of “I can’t see them, therefore they aren’t real”.
The revelation came after co-hosts Ed Henry and Jedediah Bila questioned Hegseth’s off-camera consumption of pizza left out after National Pizza Day, on Saturday.
In response Mr Hegseth argued that pizza “lasts for a long time.”
Bila then quipped Hegseth “might take a chomp out of” anything on a table “that’s not nailed down”—including mugs – that’s when the bombshell came.
“My 2019 resolution is to say things on air that I say off air… I don’t think I’ve washed my hands for 10 years. Really, I don’t really wash my hands ever,” he said.
“Someone help me,” Bila said. “Oh man.”
“I innoculate myself. Germs are not a real thing. I can’t see them. Therefore they’re not real,” he explained.
Hegseth doubled down on his unusual concept of health and hygiene with a tweet ending in the hashtag “DontWash”, sparking a fiery debate on social media.
@PeteHegseth I'm with you on hand washing. I'm almost 70 and haven't had a cold or flu in years. Our bodies need some germs to learn how to fight them. Too many germofobes out there.
— Smittymhs (@smittymhs) February 10, 2019
I wonder if @PeteHegseth would be cool with restaurant workers preparing his food after deliberately not washing their hands?
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) February 10, 2019
— Cas Mudde 🗣️ (@CasMudde) February 11, 2019
‘I was just joking’: Hesgeth
But in wake of the outroar caused by his comments, Hesgeth came forward and said he was clearly just joking and that the conversation was “banter”.
“We’re on a show and we have fun and we banter and I’m like, eh, you know, maybe I haven’t washed my hands for 10 years,” he told USA TODAY.
“If you look at Ed and Jedediah’s reaction, they are laughing like we are (on) every show.
“The next thing that will happen they are going to be calling my biology professor at Princeton (and ask) ‘When Pete was a student in your class, did he believe germs were real?’ So dumb.”
Regardless of whether Hesgeth was telling the truth, it’s a stance that is not reflected by public health organisations in any way, shape or form.
“A single gram of human faeces—which is about the weight of a paper clip—can contain one trillion germs,” a spokesman for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
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