Dem Leader Calls Republicans ‘Party of Drinking Bleach’

DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos / Getty Images
May 27, 2020

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.), chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), last week called Republicans "the party of drinking bleach."

"Democrats are betting that Americans will vote for the party of health care over the party of drinking bleach," Bustos told NPR on May 19.

Bustos made the comment while discussing a new DCCC strategy memo that calls for the protection and expansion of Obamacare. The party has faced internal divisions over whether Medicare for All should be part of its platform. Presumptive nominee Joe Biden has repeatedly said he opposes Medicare for All despite pressure from the party's left flank.

Bustos criticized President Donald Trump for speculating about using sunlight or disinfectant in coronavirus patients to try to kill the virus. Trump later said his comment was sarcastic. He also advocated for treating coronavirus with hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug which has had disparate impacts on coronavirus patients.

Bustos's claim also follows the highly publicized case of Wanda Lenius, an Arizona woman who ingested fish tank cleaner allegedly after hearing Trump discuss hydroxychloroquine.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that Lenius, who ingested the fish tank cleaner with her husband Gary, donated thousands of dollars to Democratic causes. She said she and her husband "weren't big supporters" of the president, although mainstream media reporting alleged it was her trust in Trump that led the couple to drink the chemical. Her husband died, and Arizona police are investigating the matter.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said current data indicate hydroxychloroquine is largely ineffective in treating coronavirus patients and can cause serious heart problems in some.

Other studies are examining whether the drug could be effective at preventing coronavirus infections altogether or stopping infections from worsening.