Part of the fun of playing peekaboo with newborn babies is they genuinely think you disappear when your hands lift up in front of your face.
While scientists can't say for sure when they learn better, children are born without understanding "object permanence," meaning that when something disappears from view they think it no longer exists.
That, apparently, is also what Fox and Friends host Pete Hegseth thinks about germs.
The morning show host made the surprising admission Sunday morning, as his co-hosts Jedediah Bila and Ed Henry were discussing another of Hegseth's unhealthy faux-pas, eating day old pizza that had not been refrigerated.
"My 2019 resolution is to say things on-air that I say off-air," Hegseth announced. "I don't think I've washed my hands for 10 years."
While his co-hosts seemed to think he was joking, Hegseth immediately backed up his claim.
Fox News' @PeteHegseth admits, unprompted, that he hasn't washed his hands in 10 years.— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 10, 2019
"Germs are not a real thing," Pete says. "I can't see them, therefore they're not real." pic.twitter.com/9hsAb9YA9j
"I inoculate myself," he said. "Germs are not a real thing. I can't see them; therefore, they're not real."
Ironically, a news story about a mumps outbreak scrolled across the ticker during the stomach-turning discussion.
(For the record, while we can't see the bacteria that make us sick with the naked eye, you can easily see them with a microscope.)
Hegseth continued his crusade against cleaning on Twitter, where he shared a supportive message from a nearly 70-year-old fan.
"I'm with you on hand washing," the user, who claimed he had not been sick in several years wrote. "Our bodies need some germs to learn how to fight them." Hegseth shared the message with the hashtag #DontWash.
While Hegseth is entitled to his opinion, health experts and agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all endorse hand washing, especially after a trip to the bathroom.
Not only can letting germs spread on your hands make you sick, it could also make your friends and family ill.
After a full day of disgusted reactions, Hegseth seemed to come clean about his nasty confession. He shared a tweet from fellow TV host Chris Hayes suggesting that he had only been joking about letting germs fester on his hands for a decade.
"P.S." Hegseth shared in another tweet, "I also support drinking from garden hoses & riding bikes w/o a helmet. Cue outrage..."
While Hegseth must be sick to come up with such a revolting joke in the first place, he says his health is doing well, and we'll take his word for it.
[H/T: USA Today]