President Trump lashed out at the New York Times and the Fake News Media during the White House coronavirus briefing on Monday.
Repeating his oft-used refrain that the media is “so fake” and then forcing the press to watch a Trump campaign-style video defending his response to the outbreak.
“I would love to be able to say that we have a very honest press … and I don’t mind being criticized, but not when they’re wrong,” Trump said. “Not when people have done such a great job.”
He then played a roughly three-minute edited reel of cable news doctors downplaying the threat of the virus in January and Democratic governors thanking the president for offering federal assistance.
The reel included an extended explanation — taken from the New York Times podcast The Daily — of the Times’ chief white house reporter Maggie Haberman relating that Trump’s decision to shut down flights from China looked like it was the right call.
“We could give you hundreds of clips like that … we didn’t want this to go on too long,” Trump said after playing the video, which he said was compiled in two hours by White House staffers, including Dan Scavino, a senior advisor.
The video appeared to be a response, in part, to a New York Times article that said Trump was slow to react to his team’s recommendations about the pandemic.
“So the story in the New York Times is a total fake, it’s a fake newspaper and they write fake stories. And someday, hopefully in five years when I’m not here, those papers are all going out of business because nobody’s going to read them,” Trump said.
He continued to lambaste the press for not treating him right and insisted his team was “way ahead of schedule.”
“Everything we did I was criticized because I was too early,” Trump said.
ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl pressed Trump about whether he believed the administration had done everything right.
“Governors should have had ventilators, they chose not to have them. We chose to get them ventilators. They got the ventilators,” Trump responded.
CBS News Correspondent Paula Reid asked Trump what his administration had done in February to prepare for the outbreak.
“You didn’t use it to prepare hospitals. You didn’t use it to ramp up testing,” she said.
“You know you’re a fake, you know that,” he responded.
CNN cut away from the briefing while the video was being aired and MSNBC afterwards.
“We are going to avoid airing any more of this White House briefing until it returns to what it was supposed to be, which was the Coronavirus Task Force briefing providing medical information,” host Ari Melber said on MSNBC, calling it “propaganda.”
On CNN, host John King said, “To play a propaganda video at taxpayer expense in the White House briefing room is a new — you can insert your favorite word here in this administration.”
Coronavirus Timeline Highlights
- Jan 14, WHO declared no evidence of human-to-human transmission of virus.
- Jan 31, Trump bans travel from Wuhan, press cites “experts” claiming it is counterproductive.
- Feb 1, Florence holds “Hug a Chinese Person Day”.
- Feb 4, President Trump dedicates part of State of the Union Address to the Coronavirus issue
- Feb 9, NYC holds Chinatown parade with assurances of no danger from the mayor
- Feb 23, 1st evidence of community transfer within U.S.
- Feb 24, Pelosi says to shop more: “‘Come to Chinatown … come join us”
- Feb 25, Mardi Gras was held with few people sounding warnings
- Feb 26, Pence takes over task force, daily briefings begin.
- March 1, just 42 confirmed cases in U.S.
- March 3, NYC mayor encourages New Yorkers to go to the movies.
- March 5, NYC mayor rides the subway to assure people it is safe to do so.
- March 11, WHO acknowledged a pandemic scale virus on March 11