Fox News host Pete Hegseth says that all the handwringing on Twitter about not washing his hands was missing nothing.

On Fox and friends On Sunday morning, Hegseth told his co-hosts, Ed Henry and Jedediah Bila, that he did not believe in sanitation. The recording was inspired by Bila who called out Hegseth for eating the leftover day-old pizza on the set.

"My resolution of 2019 is to say things that I say in the air," Hegseth told his co-hosts. "I do not think I've washed my hands for ten years."

While Henry and Bila laughed at this proclamation, Hegseth doubled: "I inoculate myself," he said. "Germs are not real, I can not see them, that's why they are not real."

However, Fox News spokesperson Jaclyn Giuliano told USA TODAY that Hegseth "joked", pointing to a Twitter chain between Hegseth and MSNBC host Chris Hayes.

Hayes replied to a video of Hegseth's remarks saying "he's pretty obvious joke?" Hegseth retweeted Hayes' post by adding, "When even @chrislhayes can see the obvious … Twitter is really the circle around."

Previously, Hegseth commented on Twitter about hand washing. After a tweet by the defender of the Fox News host by user @ smittymhs, Hegseth retweeted the message and & # 39; # DontWash & # 39; added.

Yet Hegseth says it was clear that he was making a joke. "We are on a show and we have fun and we joke and I have something like that, you know, maybe I have not washed my hands for ten years," he told USA TODAY. "When you look at the reaction of Ed and Jedediah, they laugh as if we are (on) every show."

Hegseth says that the joke is a call to alleviate germ obsesses. "My half-hearted comment is like that, we live in a society where people walk around with bottles of Purell in their pockets, and purify them 19,000 times a day as if that is going to save their lives," he said. "I take care of myself and things, but I'm not always obsessed with everything."

The whole episode is a signal about how the Twitter verse overreacts, he says.

After the incident got attention, Hegseth said he "leaned back and literally looked at my (Twitter) feed and laughed." It is ridiculous for me because people literally and seriously take certain things and their heads explode. " It is ridiculous. "

Hegseth added: "The next thing that will happen is that they will call my biology professor in Princeton (and ask)" When Pete was a student in your class, he believed that germs were real? " So stupid."

For the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, washing your hands is not a joke. As the country's Health Protection Agency points out, 1 gram of human excrement, which is about the weight of a paper clip, can contain 1 trillion germs.

The CDC states that the routine washing of hands with soap and clean, running water is crucial in the fight against disease and the spread of diseases.

If you stop washing your hands, it will affect your health and the health of others around you, according to Jamin Brahmbhatt, a doctor at Orlando Health.

"Washing hands is the easiest way to protect yourself and others from spreading bugs that can happen to you," Brahmbhatt told USA TODAY earlier. "We can get germs on our hands by touching other parts of our body, sneezing or coughing, touching other people, or things like animals or meat."

Contributions: Mike Snider

Follow USA TODAY internally Ben Tobin on Twitter: @TobinBen