President Trump blasted an NBC News reporter Friday after he pressed him on what he would say to the millions of Americans who are “scared right now” by the coronavirus.
The Senate is working on legislation for a $1 trillion aid package to deal with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. During his press conference Friday with the Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump announced that Tax Day will be delayed from April 15 to July 15.
In a series of obnoxious “gotcha questions,” NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander tried to embarrass the president for promoting the drug chloroquine as a promising treatment for people infected with the Chinese virus.
Alexander first challenged the president’s assertion that the drug would be made “immediately” available.
“About the possible therapies, yesterday, Mr. President, you said that they were for—quote—immediate delivery—immediate …”
“Yes, we have millions of units ordered,” Trump replied. “And we’re going to see what happens.”
Dr. Fauci noted later that the government still needs to make sure that the drug is safe under the conditions of COVID-19, but after decades of use, toxicities are rare so, like Trump, he too feels optimistic about chloroquine.
Alexander then annoyed the president further by asking if his “tendency to put a positive spin on things” was giving Americans “a false sense of hope.”
“No, I don’t think so,” the president replied, adding: “Such a lovely question.”
The president said that chloroquine “may work or may not work” to fight the coronavirus, but it could be a “game-changer” and that he “feels good about it.”
“I’m not overly optimistic or pessimistic, Trump stressed. “But I sure as hell think we should give it a try.”
Alexander’s next question really set the president off.
“What do you say to Americans that are scared?” the reporter asked. “Nearly 200 dead, 1,400 who are sick, millions as you witness, who are scared right now. What do you say to Americans who are watching right now who are scared?”
“I’d say you are a terrible reporter, that’s what I say,” Trump snapped. “I think that’s a very nasty question, and I think that’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people. The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope, and you’re doing sensationalism ” Trump charged.
He then blasted NBC News and its parent company, Comcast, which Trump noted he likes to call “Con-cast.”
“Let me just tell you something,” Trump continued. “That’s really bad reporting, and you really ought to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism.
“Let’s see if it works! It might and it might not! I happen to feel good about it,” the president reiterated. After moving on to the next question, the president took one last dig at Alexander.
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” he said.
Full video of Trump's exchange with NBC's Peter Alexander shows:
1⃣Hopeful & optimistic Trump reassures Americans, says drug to treat coronavirus may be "gamechanger."
2⃣Alexander attacks Trump's positivity, accuses him of "misrepresenting," implies people should not have hope. pic.twitter.com/GQOqqa2hwq
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) March 20, 2020
Later on a reporter asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo whether the president’s “attacks” on news outlets “undermines” the administration as a “trusted source of information” on the coronavirus.
“Does it undermine you at all that he stands up there and he attacks news outlets and calls us untrustworthy,” she asked.
“Next question,” Pompeo said, completely ignoring the question.
Another reporter asked the Secretary what message it sends to other countries when the president lashes out at reporters.
“I’ve had my frustrations with reporters, too,” Pompeo replied. “All I ask when we speak to the media is that you listen to what we say and report it accurately—and it’s frustrating , it’s frustrating when you see that that doesn’t happen. It’s enormously frustrating.”
He added: “I’ve seen many things reported on the State Department wildly inaccurately on multiple occasions and I have spoken to those reporters about it each and every time.”
"I think I've worn them out, Mr. President"
Reporters think they are beyond reproach. They aren't
Good for Secretary Pompeo for pushing back against fake news
"All we ask is that you listen to what we say, and report it accurately."
It's not that difficult! pic.twitter.com/jMBmGpqq7n
— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) March 20, 2020