Donald Trump Fires Back at Reporters During Coronavirus Briefings

Amidst the panic of the ongoing Coronavirus, President Donald Trump holds daily briefings to update the public on various states of affairs regarding the virus. The briefings usually begin with Donald Trump and his Coronavirus Task Force giving important stats regarding the virus-like the current death toll as well as updated measures for how Americans can keep themselves safe. After the task force finishes giving its rundown, the floor opens up to reporters and journalists to ask questions directed at the Task Force. 

Over the last few weeks, many clashes could be seen between Donald Trump and reporters. 

On Friday, March 27, Jon Karl of ABC News questioned Trump on the actual availability of ventilators for everyone who may need one. Trump responded with “Look, don’t be a cutie pie”, in an apparent attempt to shut down snarky behavior on behalf of reporters. After being asked questions that undermine the validity of his reports or that question his ability, Trump turns to the apparent negative nature of the media. After being asked by PBS News Hour reporter Yamiche Alcindor to expound upon his minimalist claims on the severity of the virus, Trump responded by saying “Why don’t you act a little more positive? …You know what? That’s why nobody trusts the media anymore”. Trump quickly shuts down any questions on behalf of reporters that seem to be aimed towards sensationalism or exaggeration. 

Donald Trump expressed hope and apparent excitement about possible treatments for COVID-19. When questioned by NBC News reporter Peter Alexander on these hopeful statements, and if it’s “possible that [his] impulse to put a positive spin on things may be giving Americans a false sense of hope?” or “what would [he] say to Americans who are watching [him] right now who are scared?” Trump responded by saying “I say that you’re a terrible reporter… I think that’s a very nasty question. The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope, and you’re doing sensationalism”.

Virus pathogen

When asked by PBS News Hour reporter Yamiche Alcindor about why the United States has the least number of people tested for COVID-19 per capita compared to other countries like South Korea, Trump responded by explaining that Seoul (the capital of South Korea) has “millions of people all tightly wound together”, whereas America has “vast farmlands with vast areas where they don’t have much of a problem”. Trump goes on to explain that in his past statement that the U.S. has done “far more tests than any country in the world” he wasn’t referring to a per capita number. He goes further to tell Alcindor that instead of presenting undermining questions, she should “congratulate the people that have done this testing, [since] they inherited a broken system, a system that was obsolete”. 

Shots were fired at yet another reporter, Jim Acosta of CNN, when he questioned the president on what he would say to “Americans who are upset with him for the way he’s downplayed the crisis”. Acosta began reciting quotes from Trump that expressed hope and sentiments of control in regard to the ongoing crisis, quotes like “The virus will disappear. Just like magic, it will disappear”. Trump seemed to lose patience with the reporter and responded by calling Acosta’s question “nasty and snarky” and signaling in the crowd for the next question to be asked.

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