Donald Trump has never had an original thought in his life. This includes his “bleach cleansing” theory that shocked, horrified and amused the world. Where did this one come from? Primarily from Mark Grenon, a con artist who runs a “church” in Florida called Genesis II. Grenon’s little grifter organization has long touted chlorine dioxide — bleach — as a “miracle cure” for everything from carbuncles to malaria, HIV/AIDS and autism.
Grenon knows there is one way to get Trump’s interest: abject flattery. Grenon and his church have been peppering Trump with letters touting bleach as the cure for COVID-19. Grenon wrote to Trump that bleach is “a wonderful detox that can kill 99% of the pathogens in the body” and “can rid the body of Covid-19.” Days after Trump received the letter, he went on television and touted bleach as a possible cure for the virus.
Genesis II sells what they call MMS, “Miracle Mineral Solution.” Since the first headlines about the Coronavirus outgreak, Grenon and his fellow trolls have been hawking bleach as a viral cure, advising everyone to mix a few drops of bleach in water and drink it. They push MMS, which contains not only bleach, but sodium chlorite, a chemical used in waste-water treatment and industrial fracking.
On April 19, Grenon took to the airwaves with his weekly radio harangue to read the letter he wrote to Trumo. He also said about 30 of his supporters have written letters to Trump touting MMS as a cure. When Trump told his television audience that doctors should consider having patients inject bleach into their lungs to cure the virus, Grenon stormed Facebook to claim: “Trump has got the MMS and all the info!!! Things are happening folks! Lord help others to see the Truth!”
This was an about-face in the fortunes of Grenon’s organization: in mid-April, the the US Food and Drug Administration obtained a federal court order barring it from selling what it called “An unproven and potentially harmful treatment for Covid-19.” The FDA also ordered a Genesis II follower, Kerri Rivera, to remove claims that MMS cured coronavirus from her website. The FDA warned Americans in August 2019 not to buy or drink MMS, calling it a “dangerous bleach which has caused serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.”
The White House refused to respond to requests by British reporters for The Guardian for clarification on the impact Grenon’s letter may have had on Trump.
The Guardian also points out another grifter, former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes, who hawks bleach-based products as a “miracle cure” on his online television show. It is unclear whether Trump and Keyes have communicated with one another. Keyes, who like Trump was an infamous promoter of the “birther” conspiracy theory that claimed Barack Obama was born in Kenya, has his show hosted on IAMtv, a far-right Internet-based TV channel. IAMtv’s other anchor, Bob Sisson, has promoted Genesis II and MMS on air.
In late 2019, Sisson held up two bottles of Genesis II and proclaimed: “Gonna meet Trump, it’s only a matter of time. President Trump’s gonna invite us up there, when he finds out about this stuff.” Sisson also boasted about meeting then-Kentucky governor Matt Bevin and Tennessee governor Bill Lee, both Republicans. Doug Nash, a retired planetary geologist with NASA and former mayor of San Juan Capistrano, is a harsh critic of Genesis II and MMS; he says his wife took a single dose of the “miracle cure” in 2009 while on a boating trip to Vanuatu, fearing malaria, and died twelve hours later. News reports note that the autopsy on Nash’s wife was inconclusive for cause of death. The man who sold Nash the MSS, Daniel Smith, was later sentenced to four years in prison for selling fraudulent substances as a medical treatment.
The fear of autism, especially among anti-vaxxers, has led to an outbreak of parents feeding their children MMS, or giving them MMS enemas.
MMS was first promoted by Jim Humble, the founder of Genesis II, a former Scientologist who claims to be a billion-year old god from the Andromeda Galaxy. Humble claims to have personally cured over 800 HIV/AIDS sufferers in Africa with MMS. He says MMS cured at least one patient of cancer, saying: “He wrote me, ‘I coughed up a tumor. The doctor was flabbergasted. The tumor is gone.'” (Apparently Humble and other MMS con artists have “cured” thousands of people in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. I shudder to think how many people have died from their “ministrations.”)
“I didn’t study medicine,” Humble told a reporter. “I’m not a doctor and I’m proud of it.” In 2016, Humble retracted some of his claims, saying that MMS in and of itself “cures nothing” and instead “serves as a tool to kill pathogens and oxidize poisons in the body which allows the body to heal the body.” He seems to have forgotten his retractions, and is back to hawking MMS as a “miracle cure.”
Ads for treatments such as MMS, as well as ultraviolet light “cures,” have been rampant on Facebook in recent weeks, touting themselves as “miracle cures” for COVID-19. The QAnon conspiracy movement has embraced MMS, “UV Sanitizers,” and other fake treatments. Trump has long been suspected of having an interest in QAnon. One of Trump’s favorite media outlets, the far-right Epoch Times, has promoted bleach- and alcohol-based treatments for the virus.