Queensland’s Deputy Premier has wished Donald Trump “a speedy recovery” hours but has refused to apologise for one of his tweets which asked the US President if he had “tried intravenous disinfectant” after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Steven Miles took the opportunity on Saturday morning to remind Queenslanders of the stark difference between the state’s dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and that of the United States.
Speaking at a press conference, he said Queensland had reported no new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to Saturday morning. There are now just six active cases in the state.
In a series of tweets shared on Friday night, Mr Miles seemed to be poking fun at Trump for the way he has handled COVID-19.
“Have you considered intravenous disinfectant?” he replied to Trump’s tweet in which the US President revealed he had tested positive.
In April Trump sparked outcry from medical experts after he suggested there should be research into whether coronavirus might be treated by injecting disinfectant into the body.
Doctors said it was dangerous and irresponsible.
Trump made the comments at a White House coronavirus task force briefing where US government research had found bleach could kill the virus in saliva within five minutes and isopropyl alcohol was even quicker.
Mr Miles’ Twitter activity was immediately met with criticism, including someone updating his Wikipedia page, labelling him “disgraceful”.
Mr Miles told reporters on Saturday morning it appeared he’d kicked an “internet hornet’s web” after the tweet, but did not apologize for the remarks, while sending the Trumps wishes for a “speedy recovery”.
“This just shows nobody is immune from this virus,” Mr Miles said.
“I think it (the tweet) gave me a chance to highlight that some of the treatments that he suggested don’t work, he won’t be using them himself.
“He as a world leader has repeatedly made ridiculous comments about this disease.
“I think everybody knows the context. Everybody knows the outrageous things he has said throughout this pandemic. I think I can be excused for making a joke… It‘s not unreasonable of me.
“I won‘t apologise. I hope he apologises… to everyone who believed him.”
Mr Miles said it showed even the “standard bearers for the argument of putting the economy ahead of lives” could be afflicted with this disease.
“We first, before we can focus on getting people back to work and businesses open, we have to get the health advice right,” Mr Miles said.
“That’s precisely what we’ve done here in Queensland.”
Nationals Senator Matt Canavan said Mr Miles’ “childish comments” were “embarrassing”.
“For a health minister, Steven Miles doesn’t have a very good bedside manner,” Mr Canavan told Sky News host Chris Kenny.
“I think almost everyone’s human reaction would be to wish someone well in such circumstances, whatever disagreements we have as politicians.
“It’s pretty childish coming from the deputy premier nonetheless, a bit embarrassing for us in Queensland.”
Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington echoed Mr Canavan’s sentiments.
“The Premier needs to show some leadership and get her Health Minister to apologise to one of Queensland’s largest trading partners,” Ms Frecklington said.
“It’s absolutely appalling and childish to criticise someone with COVID, let alone one of Queensland’s most important trading partners.”