On Sunday, Fox and Friends Weekend host and Minneapolitan Pete Hegseth turned to the camera and did his whole city proud by saying something controversial and incredibly brave.
“As I told you, my 2019 resolution is to say things on air that I say off air,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve washed my hands for 10 years.”
His co-hosts began to laugh uproariously, and, belatedly, someone off-camera emitted a loud, low groan.
“Really,” Hegseth insisted as his co-hosts slapped their knees. “I don’t really wash my hands, ever.”
They continued to laugh, even as Hegseth’s face remained deadpan serious. One co-host, smiling, exclaimed, “Someone help me,” almost as though she was providing an adequate button on which to end this conversation. But Hegseth wasn’t done.
“I inoculate myself,” he insisted. “Germs are not a real thing. I can’t see them, therefore they’re not real.”
“So, you’re becoming immune to all the bacteria,” his co-host suggested, helpfully.
“Exactly,” he said. “I can’t get sick.”
Here’s that clip, snagged by The Daily Mail:
There were some on Twitter who found this full-throated denial of the benefits of hand-washing a little… concerning. But at least one Twitter user, Smittymhs, applauded Hegseth’s bold admission with a tweet of his own.
“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 [sic] out there.”
Hegseth retweeted the proclamation and punctuated it with a tagline: #DontWash.
On Monday morning, a USA Today piece came out reviewing the #DontWash incident and assuring its readers that, yes, washing your hands is incredibly important, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “highly recommends” Hegseth, you, and I do so.
You might think this would be Hegseth’s chance to back off and call the whole thing a joke gone awry or a television gaffe. Instead, he retweeted the story on Monday morning with this caption:
“To paraphrase the President from an hour ago: The Media is so self righteous and ANGRY! Loosen up and have some fun. The Country is doing well (as is my health!)”
He added: “P.S. I also support drinking from garden hoses & riding bikes w/o a helmet. Cue outrage…”
Finally, about a minute later, Hegseth retweeted a commenter, Chris Hayes, speculating that he was “pretty clearly joking” on Sunday.
“When even @chrislhayes can see the obvious… Twitter really has come full circle,” he said.
Other examples of Hegseth’s television bravery include insisting it’s “hard” to find English-speakers in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood and accidentally hitting a man with an axe during a June 2015 Fox News segment.