Trump Berates Reporter, Calls Her ‘Threatening’ For Asking About Comments He Made on Coronavirus

President Donald Trump berated PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor for a question she asked, at Sunday’s press conference on the coronavirus, regarding his war of words with U.S. governors.

In response, Trump bashed Alcindor in personal terms, billing her question as “threatening.”

“I have two questions,” the PBS reporter started. “The first is, you’ve said repeatedly that you think that some of the equipment that governors are requesting, they don’t need.”

Trump cut in: “I didn’t say that.”

“You said it on Sean Hannity’s Fox News — you said that you might…” Alcindor replied before being interrupted.

“Why don’t you people act…why don’t you act in a little more positive?” Trump said. “It’s always trying to get you, get you. And you know what, that’s why nobody trusts the media anymore.”

“Excuse me, you didn’t hear me,” he continued, as Alcindor attempted to continue her question. “That’s why you used to work for Times, and now you work for somebody else. Look, let me tell you something, be nice. Don’t be threatening.”

“Be nice. Go ahead,” Trump added.

“My question is, how is that going to impact how you fill these orders for ventilators or masks?” Alcindor asked.

“We’re producing a tremendous number of ventilators,” Trump stated. “We’re doing a great job on it.”

Later in the exchange, Trump again called Alcindor’s question “threatening,” while also calling her a “fine journalist.”

“You know, when journalists get up and you’re a journalist, a fine journalist and ask questions that are so threatening, we’re all on the same team,” Trump stated.

Alcindor replied, “I was quoting you directly from your interview with Sean Hannity.”

Trump did make the comments that Alcindor asked him about. In an interview with Hannity this week, the president said of governors: “A lot of equipment is being asked for that I don’t think they will need.”

The PBS correspondent attempted to ask her second question, but Trump said, “That’s enough” and a White House staffer removed the microphone from Alcindor. It was later returned to her by CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond.

[Mediaite]

Media

In Exchange for Aid, Trump Wants Praise From Governors He Can Use in Campaign Ads

As he increasingly tries to shovel blame for the shortage of medical supplies onto the governors of states with densely populated areas that are suffering the most from the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump was asked on Friday what more he wants them to do. It was, he said, “very simple: I want them to be appreciative.”

Trump contrasted those two Democratic governors, who have been blunt about the federal government’s failings, with two others who have appealed to the president’s vanity in an attempt to get his help. Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, has been “appreciative,” Trump said. Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, had also spoken well of him, Trump noted. “I appreciate his nice words,” the president said. “I really appreciate it.”

Trump’s choice of those two governors was probably not coincidental. Earlier on Friday, his reelection campaign unveiled a schmaltzy new ad — entitled, of all things, “Hope” — that cast his response to the pandemic in heroic terms, and featured video of both governors praising him.

While Trump approved Newsom’s request to declare the coronavirus outbreak in California a major disaster within hours of the governor asking on Sunday, freeing federal funds, the president failed to respond to a similar request from Whitmer on Thursday. Instead, he belittled her in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News Thursday night. “We’ve had a big problem with the young, a woman governor from — you know who I’m talking about — from Michigan,” Trump told Hannity. “She is a new governor and it’s not been pleasant.”

“She doesn’t get it done, and we send her a lot,” Trump complained. “Now she wants a declaration of emergency and, you know, we’ll have to make a decision on that,” Trump said.

Whitmer responded to Trump appearing to not even know her name with a Twitter plea for the personal protective equipment and other medical equipment the state desperately needs from the national strategic stockpile. “Hi, my name is Gretchen Whitmer, and that governor is me,” she wrote. “I’ve asked repeatedly and respectfully for help. We need it. No more political attacks, just PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, test kits. You said you stand with Michigan — prove it.”

The governor told WWJ-AM in Detroit on Friday morning that she had been trying to get on the phone with Trump at about the same time he was lambasting her in a call to Hannity. “I reached out to the White House last night, asked for a phone call with the president,” she said, but never heard back.

Earlier in the week, Whitmer told a local radio station that one hospital in her state had received a shipment from the federal government last week with just 747 masks, 204 gowns, 64 face shields and 40,467 gloves. “With the exception of the gloves, that allotment of PPE didn’t cover one shift,” she said.

On Friday, the governor told CNN that, after Trump had asked governors to procure their own medical supplies, her state had placed a large number of orders — only to be told later by suppliers that they had been instructed to send the items to the federal government instead.

A short time later, Trump used the White House briefing on the public health emergency to vent more at Whitmer and Inslee. He concluded his rant by saying that he had advised Vice President Mike Pence, the head of his coronavirus task force, to not even bother speaking with them. “I say, ‘Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington, you’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan,” the president said.

“If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said of refusing to speak to the governors of two American states during a global pandemic.

Before calling it a day on Friday, Trump approved major disaster declarations for South Carolina and Puerto Rico, but not Michigan.

He then took out his iPhone and tried to escape blame for the outbreak in Michigan, which has already killed 92 people, by tweeting insults at the governor. “I love Michigan, one of the reasons we are doing such a GREAT job for them during this horrible Pandemic,” the president wrote. “Yet your Governor, Gretchen ‘Half’ Whitmer is way in over her head, she doesn’t have a clue. Likes blaming everyone for her own ineptitude!”

Trump’s apparent demand that the governors of U.S. states do him a political favor, though — by praising his response to the crisis on television, in exchange for him unlocking federal aid — strongly echoed the scheme he was impeached for last year. In that case, Trump withheld aid from Ukraine to coerce its president into agreeing to go on CNN and announce a sham investigation of Joe Biden, his likely rival in the November election.

In fact, the situation with Michigan’s governor is almost identical to a hypothetical the legal scholar Pamela Karlan asked members of the Judiciary Committee to consider during the impeachment hearings in December.

Update: Saturday, March 28, 5:55 p.m. EDT
On Saturday afternoon, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reported on Twitter that she had spoken with Vice President Mike Pence and thanked the White House for declaring a major disaster declaration for Michigan, freeing up federal assistance for the state, two days after it was requested. She also thanked the FEMA for a new shipment of 112,000 N95 masks to her state’s emergency operations center.

[Intercept]

Trump downplays need for ventilators as New York begs to differ

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York says his state needs tens of thousands of ventilators to respond to the escalating coronavirus pandemic.

President Donald Trump doesn’t believe him.

Speaking with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday night, Trump again minimized the impact of the infectious outbreak in the United States, casting doubt on the demand for so many of the respiratory devices in hospitals on the front lines of the disease.

“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” he said. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now, all of a sudden, they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”

New York has become the new epicenter America’s public health crisis, as health care workers struggle to treat rocketing numbers of patients with diminishing supplies, including masks, gowns and ventilators. In severe cases of Covid-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, the machines can allow patients to breathe with incapacitated lungs — a common outcome of the disease.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said in a news briefing on Thursday that she was told New York had enough ventilators to meet current needs. While there may be shortages in urban areas like New York City, she said, there are parts of the state “that have lots of ventilators and other parts of New York state that don’t have any infections right now.”

“Over a thousand or two thousand ventilators that have not been utilized yet,” Birx said. “Please, for the reassurance of people around the world, to wake up this morning and look at people talking about creating DNR situations — do not resuscitate situations for patients — there is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion.”

But during his daily news conference on Tuesday, Cuomo had said that the state would need a minimum of 30,000 ventilators to be able to respond to the climax of the outbreak, which is predicted to hit the state in about two weeks.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had delivered only 400 ventilators, Cuomo said, although the Trump administration announced later in the day that it would ship 4,000 more from the federal stockpile.

“What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000?” Cuomo asked reporters, angrily accusing the administration of “missing the magnitude of the problem.”

“You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators,” he said.

By Thursday, Cuomo said the state had begun converting several thousand anesthesia machines into ventilators and approved the “splitting” of ventilators between two patients — a practice the governor said was “not ideal, but we believe it’s workable.”

“We are talking to the federal government about more ventilators” and still “shopping for ventilators, ourselves,” Cuomo said, adding that stockpiles of ventilators were located “all across the state” to deploy to regional hospitals.

But “the number of ventilators we need is so astronomical,” Cuomo warned, pegging the “apex number” of ventilators that could be required in New York at 40,000. The governor said New York is currently in possession of 12,000 ventilators, and he did not know when the state would reach peak demand.

“We don’t have an estimate for when we would get there,” Cuomo said, “and hopefully, we never do.”

[Politico]

Trump lashes out at networks, newspapers: All I see is ‘hatred of me’


President Trump
 late Sunday lashed out at much of the media over their coverage of his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, claiming that all he’s seen is “hatred of me.”

“I watch and listen to the Fake News, CNN, MSDNC, ABC, NBC, CBS, some of FOX (desperately & foolishly pleading to be politically correct), the [New York Times], & the [Washington Post], and all I see is hatred of me at any cost,” Trump said on Twitter. 

“Don’t they understand that they are destroying themselves?” he asked. 

Trump has regularly attacked the press since entering the White House, often referring to reporters as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people.” Last week, Trump railed against an NBC reporter, calling him “terrible,” after being asked what he’d say to Americans who are scared. 

His tirade against the group of news outlets came after a day in which several state and federal lawmakers called on the president to use his authority to help health systems being overwhelmed by a surge of patients. 

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said on CNN that states were overpaying for medical equipment and were being forced to compete with each other for much-needed resources. Rather than a competition, it “should have been a coordinated effort by the federal government,” he said. 

“It’s a wild, wild West out there, and indeed [we’re] overpaying for [personal protective equipment] because of that competition,” Pritzker said. 

Trump railed against Pritzker and CNN just hours later, tweeting that they “shouldn’t be blaming the Federal Government for their own shortcomings.”

Pritzker tweeted in response that Trump “wasted precious months when you could’ve taken action to protect Americans & Illinoisans.”

“Get off Twitter & do your job,” Pritzker said. 

Speaking at a White House briefing on Sunday, Trump said that he would reject calls to ramp up production of critical medical supplies through the use of the Defense Production Act.

He said that he’s used the law as a source of leverage in negotiations with companies to persuade them to manufacture equipment, but he contended that it would nationalize industries and that he was not in favor it. The Defense Production Act does not nationalize industry, but it does allow the government to direct private businesses to make certain supplies. “We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business. Call a person over in Venezuela,” Trump told reporters. “How did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well.”

[The Hill]

Trump Lashes Out at NBC News’ Peter Alexander Over Question About What to Tell ‘Scared Americans’

President Donald Trump called an NBC News journalist a “terrible reporter” for asking a legitimate question about what the president would say to Americans feeling scared about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of at least 194 people in the country.

“What do you say to Americans who are scared?” NBC News’ Peter Alexander asked on Friday. “There’ll be 200 dead, 14,000 who are sick, millions — as you witnessed — who are scared right now. What do you say to Americans watching you right now who are scared?”

“I say that you’re a terrible reporter,” Trump responded. “I think that’s a very nasty question, and I think it’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, and the same with NBC. … That’s really bad reporting, and you ought to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism.”

President Donald Trump called an NBC News journalist a “terrible reporter” for asking a legitimate question about what the president would say to Americans feeling scared about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of at least 194 people in the country.

“What do you say to Americans who are scared?” NBC News’ Peter Alexander asked on Friday. “There’ll be 200 dead, 14,000 who are sick, millions — as you witnessed — who are scared right now. What do you say to Americans watching you right now who are scared?”

“I say that you’re a terrible reporter,” Trump responded. “I think that’s a very nasty question, and I think it’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, and the same with NBC. … That’s really bad reporting, and you ought to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism.”

[Yahoo News]

Media

Trump defends use of the term ‘China virus’

President Donald Trump defended his use of the term “China virus” to describe Covid-19 on Tuesday, saying he uses the term because China tried to blame its spread on the American military.”I didn’t appreciate the fact that China was saying that our military gave it to them. Our military did not give it to anybody,” Trump said during a White House press briefing.”China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them. That was false. And rather than having an argument, I said I had to call it where it came from. It did come from China. So, I think it’s a very accurate term,” he said.

The President also pushed back at suggestions that using the term creates a stigma.

“I don’t think so. I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma,” Trump said.CNN previously reported that a prominent Chinese official has promoted a conspiracy theory that the US military could have brought the novel coronavirus to China — and it did not originate in the Chinese city of Wuhan.Parts of Chinese social media, and even the country’s government, appear to have launched a concerted campaign to question the origin of the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 170,000 people globally as of Tuesday midday, according to CNN’s case tracker.The first reported cases of the virus were in Wuhan, and scenes from the city in lockdown shocked the world. The lockdown gave an early indication for how seriously global authorities would need to combat the fast-spreading virus.

[CNN]

Reality

Some Chinese news outlets and officials have pushed the unfounded claim the American military gave China the coronavirus, but this is beyond petty to reciprocate.

Media

CBS Reporter: WH Official Called Coronavirus ‘Kung Flu’ to My Face Today

A CBS News White House correspondent revealed Tuesday that an unnamed White House official referred to the deadly coronavirus as the “Kung-Flu” directly to her face. “Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back,” Weijia Jiang wrote on Twitter.

Erick Erickson, a conservative evangelical radio host and pro-Trumper, wrote in response to Jiang’s tweet: “I don’t care that you are offended by ‘Kung Flu,’ ‘Wuhan virus,’ or ‘Chinese virus,’” adding, “I’m sorry you’re that sensitive and eager to embrace Chinese communist propaganda, but I don’t care.” President Trump and several of his Republican allies have repeatedly used terms such as the “Chinese Virus” and the “Wuhan Virus,” which have been condemned as xenophobic and racist. The World Health Organization renamed the virus “COVID-19” so that it is not associated with a group of people or a geographical location, which can lead to stigmatization. On Tuesday morning, the president said on Twitter that some states “are being hit hard by the Chinese Virus, some are not being hit practically at all.” 

[The Daily Beast]

Trump Attacks ‘Failing’ Michigan Governor After She Hits ‘Mind-Boggling’ Coronavirus Response on MSNBC

President Donald Trump attacked Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Twitter for “failing” to combat the coronavirus in her state after she claimed to have little federal support on MSNBC.

“Failing Michigan Governor must work harder and be much more proactive,” Trump wrote. “We are pushing her to get the job done. I stand with Michigan.”

“But we need the federal government to work. We need respirators and ventilators and personal protection equipment. We need more test kits and the resources to process those test kits in a quick expedited manner,” added the Governor.

When Ruhle asked, “Can you get [the tests] without federal support?” Whitmer responded, “No, no! We need federal support. Like I said, we’re pulling out all of the stops and reaching out to our partners in the private sector and we’re going to do everything we can to supplement but it’s not to the exclusion of federal support. We need the federal government to ramp up and get this done.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Bashes Cuomo For Wanting All States Treated Equally for ‘Chinese Virus’: ‘Keep Politics Out Of It’

President Donald Trump is keeping his fight with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo going, tussling over how to address the coronavirus pandemic.

“Cuomo wants “all states to be treated the same.” But all states aren’t the same,” Trump tweeted, before using a name for the disease critics have slammed as racist. “Some are being hit hard by the Chinese Virus, some are being hit practically not at all. New York is a very big “hotspot”, West Virginia has, thus far, zero cases. Andrew, keep politics out of it….”

Trump’s tweet is a continuation of the swipes he launched on Cuomo after Monday’s teleconference between the president and state governors across the country. Cuomo has repeatedly expressed frustration that the federal government isn’t doing enough to respond to the virus, so Trump accused him of being the one who has to “do more.”

Cuomo fired back by saying “YOU have to do something! You’re supposed to be the President.” He also said he’d be “happy” to do Trump’s job if the president hands control of the Army Corps of Engineers over to him.

[Mediaite]

Trump tweets about coronavirus using term ‘Chinese Virus’

President Donald Trump drew backlash Monday night after posting a tweet using the phrase “Chinese Virus.”

After giving an address Monday afternoon in which he said the country may be headed toward recession and urged social distancing, he later tweeted his confidence in and support for various sectors while including the offensive remark.

“The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!” he wrote.

Many officials, including the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have criticized the phrase as inaccurate and potentially harmful in promoting racist associations between the virus and those from China.

The comments prompted massive backlash from many social media users, including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said the tweet was misplacing blame and could put more Asian Americans in danger.

Chinese officials condemned Trump’s comments, saying his tweet smeared China.

“The U.S. should first take care of its own matters,” said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry.

Trump has previously referred to COVID-19 as a “foreign virus,” and he has also retweeted a supporter who used the term “China Virus.” His newest reference comes days after CDC Director Robert Redfield agreed at a House hearing that it was “absolutely wrong and inappropriate” to use labels like “Chinese coronavirus,” as the virus had expanded beyond China to other parts of the world. There were roughly 3,500 confirmed cases of the illness in the U.S. as of Monday night.

Many others have condemned the practice of identifying the illness by location or ethnicity, including the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, which called on its fellow legislators to “help us prevent hysteria, ignorant attacks, and racist assaults that have been fueled by misinformation pertaining to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)” by sharing only confirmed and verifiable information.

While some, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., publicly condemned the racism tied to the pandemic, others, such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have continued to use the offensive language, pointing to outlets that have used similar wording.

The Asian American Journalists Association released guidelines for responsible reporting in February to curb “fueling xenophobia and racism that have already emerged since the outbreak.”

Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., previously told NBC News that it’s possible that several GOP legislators have continued to use the rhetoric to distract from Trump’s handling of the pandemic. She said it’s likely that officials are using China or Asian Americans as scapegoats “versus actually dealing with the problem at hand.”

Along with the virus’ spread, there has been an increase in racist incidents and discrimination targeting Asian Americans. Two Hmong guests endured harassment and were later barred from staying at first a Super 8 and then a Days Inn in Indiana. In California, an Asian teen was bullied, assaulted and sent to the emergency room over fears surrounding the pandemic.

De Blasio held a media roundtable Wednesday to condemn coronavirus-related discrimination against Asian communities in New York.

“Right now, we’ve seen particularly troubling instances of discrimination directed at Asian communities, particularly in Chinese communities,” he said. “This is unacceptable.”

CORRECTION (March 16, 2020, 11:05 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misidentified the U.S.’s primary health protection agency. It is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not the Center for Disease Control and Protection.

[NBC News]

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