Fox News host Pete Hegseth has since implied the comments were meant to be taken as a joke.
US television host Pete Hegseth has sparked widespread confusion after on-air claims that he hasn't "washed his hands in 10 years" because "germs are not a real thing".
Speaking on the television program he hosts, Fox and Friends, Hegseth added that: "I can't see them, therefore they aren't real".
"I innoculate myself," he said on Monday, after announcing that his 2019 resolution was to say more of what he says off-air on television.
The comments sparked the hashtag #DontWash, which revealed both disgust and support for the claims.
Early on Tuesday morning, Hegseth responded by paraphrasing recent comments from the US President, implying his on-air statements were a joke.
"The Media is so self-righteous and ANGRY! Loosen up and have some fun. The Country is doing well (as is my health!)," he wrote on Twitter.
"P.S. I also support drinking from garden hoses & riding bikes w/o a helmet. Cue outrage ..."
The tweet references an earlier post from Donald Trump, which labelled Democrats "self-righteous and angry".
Last year, it was reported that the TV personality was Mr Trump's leading pick to take over the Department of Veteran Affairs, which would have left him responsible for the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans.
The President himself is a self-described "clean hands freak", writing in his 1997 book The Art of the Comeback: "I happen to be a clean hands freak. I feel much better after I thoroughly wash my hands, which I do as much as possible."