Fox News host Pete Hegseth has said on air that he has not washed his hands for 10 years because “germs are not a real thing”.
Speaking on Fox and Friends, Hegseth said the infectious micro-organisms did not exist because they could not be seen with the naked eye.
“I inoculate myself,” added the Harvard and Princeton graduate.
His remarks came after co-hosts Ed Henry and Jedediah Bila made fun of him for eating left-over pizza.
“My 2019 resolution is to say things on air that I say off air,” Hegseth added.
His comments were met with both support and concern on social media.@smittymhs
@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.@BradMossEsq
I wonder if @PeteHegseth would be cool with restaurant workers preparing his food after deliberately not washing their hands?
Mr Hegseth later told USA Today that his remarks were intended to be a joke.
“We live in a society where people walk around with bottles of Purell (a hand sanitiser) in their pockets, and they sanitise 19,000 times a day as if that’s going to save their life,” he said.
“I take care of myself and all that, but I don’t obsess over everything all the time.”