Without warning anyone, he immediately followed through on that resolution.
“I don’t think I’ve washed my hands for 10 years,” he blurted out, prompting hysterical laughter from his colleagues. We were really hoping he’d stop there. Instead, he provided some sort of explanation.
“Really. I don’t really wash my hands ever. I inoculate myself. 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,” interjected co-host Jedediah Bila, who also yelled, “Someone, help me!”
“Exactly,” Hegseth replied. “I can’t get sick.”
Newsweek reports that Hegseth’s comments were sparked by a conversation over day-old pizza — the co-host had apparently eaten some slices that were left out from the day before. He defended himself by asserting pizza “lasts for a long time.”
The Fox personality’s remarks made the rounds on social media, prompting many to react and wonder why, if true, he would even admit to such a thing.
A Fox News spokeswoman told The Washington Post Hegseth was joking, of course, which he later said was “obvious.”
“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.”
He continued: “My halfhearted commentary to the point is, we live in a society where people walk around with bottles of Purell in their pockets, and they sanitize 19,000 times a day as if that’s going to save their life. I take care of myself and all that, but I don’t obsess over everything all the time.”
You may have been joking, but the problem is that many viewers will take you seriously and now may not wash their hands. Please just make it clear that you were joking so that some knucklehead won't take your joke seriously. You have the platform.— Derek G-ter (@drektek) February 11, 2019
The Centers for Disease Control dedicates several pages of its website to hand washing, underscoring its importance in preventing the spread of germs.
“Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water,” the CDC writes, recalling lessons most of us were taught in kindergarten.
They further note everyone should wash their hands before preparing or eating food.
That suggestion probably applies to day-old pizza as well.
Lindsey Bever contributed to this report.