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.”
“I don’t think there’s confusion,” Pence, who is leading the administration’s response to the crisis, told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day” Thursday. But he was unable to provide figures on how many Americans have been tested for the virus, which has been a key question as the crisis has spread throughout the country and disrupted everyday life.
Speaking to the nation Wednesday night, Trump announced that “all travel from Europe to the United States” would be banned for 30 days beginning Friday, with exceptions for the United Kingdom. After Trump’s remarks, the administration clarified that the travel restriction did not apply to Americans or US permanent residents, nor did it apply to all of Europe but to nations in the Schengen zone.
Trump was also forced to clarify he was not blocking goods from Europe, despite saying in his address that his ban would “apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo” across the Atlantic.
On CNN Thursday, Pence elaborated on the travel restrictions, saying that Americans coming home will be funneled through 13 different airports, where they will be screened for the novel coronavirus. Americans and legal residents returning to the US will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, Pence said.
“We’ve recognized, our health experts tracking global data, that the epicenter of the coronavirus has shifted from China and South Korea to Europe,” the vice president said.
Pence also defended the administration’s handling of testing for the virus. The availability of test kits to health care providers has been one of the most scrutinized aspects of the federal government’s response to the crisis, leading to frustrations from state and local officials, and there has been confusion among Trump administration officials over the number of testing kits that have been mailed out.
Pence said he didn’t believe the numbers of tests being performed were declining, despite what was listed on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website in recent days.
Asked how many tests have been done, Pence replied, “Well, I would leave that to the experts.”
As of Monday, public health labs in all 50 states and Washington, DC, are able to test for novel coronavirus, according to the CDC. But the vice president said Thursday it’s “going to take a few more days” to make commercial testing for COVID-19 widely and readily available for the general public.
“The overall recommendation to Americans is to use common sense, practice good hygiene, and keep a special eye on seniors with chronic underlying health conditions,” Pence said.
Speaking to CNN’s John Berman on “New Day” on Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar also was unable to say how many Americans have been tested.
As of Thursday morning, there have been 38 deaths and over 1,200 cases of coronavirus in the United States, according to CNN’s tally.
President Donald Trump snapped at CNN reporter Jim Acosta for asking about the White House’s own officials who contradict what the president says about the coronavirus.
“What do you say to Americans who are concerned that you’re not taking this seriously enough and that some of your statements don’t match what your health experts are saying?” asked Acosta.
“That’s CNN. Fake news,” Trump dismissed the question.
Trump was speaking after a meeting with Wall Street bank CEOs, which happened as the Dow Jones hit “bear market” territory at its close Wednesday. He took a few questions from the press during the photo opportunity, and Acosta asked the question. Trump was furious and kicked the press out.
“Tried to ask Trump to respond to Americans who are concerned he’s not taking situation seriously enough and that his statements don’t match what health experts are saying. He did not answer the question,” tweeted Acosta.
President Donald Trump visited the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Friday amid his administration’s push to control the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus first observed in China. But in a press conference during that visit, Trump did little to help Americans understand the government’s response to the virus, instead spreading misinformation while using the public health crisis for self-aggrandizement.
The president spent much of the press conference working to convince the public his administration has the coronavirus under control, something that does not appear to be the case.
For instance, while it is unclear how many people have been infected by the virus due to a delay in testing, it has become increasingly clear in recent days that there are Americans infected with the virus across the country. The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the United States has more than doubled in the past week, and as CNN’s Ryan Struyk reported, at least seven states — Minnesota, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Kentucky, Nebraska, Hawaii, and Utah — reported their first Covid-19 cases following Trump’s CDC visit.
Yet during the press conference, Trump dismissed any criticism against the government’s handling of the virus, stressing in particular the availability of Covid-19 tests.
“As of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test [can have one], that’s the important thing, and the tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect, the transcription was perfect,” Trump said, seemingly referring to the White House transcript of his call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in which he requests an investigation into his political rivals.
That call was, of course, not perfect, and helped lead to the president’s impeachment — and the tests have not been perfect either.
There have been three main problems with the US government’s coronavirus tests: the first batch, distributed in February, is believed to have had a faulty reagent leading to inconclusive results; once that issue was corrected, there was not enough CDC capacity to test the kits that had been sent out (leading the center to open up testing to state-level facilities), and there aren’t currently enough tests to go around.
Several states have been pushing the CDC for more Covid-19 test kits, and have criticized the government for its slow response in making more tests available. New York, where there are more than 70 confirmed cases, cannot meet the demand for testing because it doesn’t have enough tests, according to Raul Perea-Henze, the New York City deputy mayor for health and human services.
“With multiple positive cases, NYC needs maximum testing capacity to enable successful implementation of the public health strategies that best protect New Yorkers,” Perea-Henze wrote in a letter Friday, requesting more testing kits. “The slow federal action on this matter has impeded our ability to beat back this epidemic.”
California simultaneously does not have enough kits to test all those at risk of having been infected, and does not have the lab capacity to process all of the tests it has already run. Lab technicians have been working 18-hour shifts in order to try to work through a testing backlog, but have been unable to do so. In Los Angeles County, commercial laboratories will begin processing tests on Monday, which is expected to help alleviate this issue.
But not all states have the resources California and New York do — while they were able to send tests to state-run labs after the CDC began allowing them to do so, some states, including Maine, Ohio, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, do not currently have the capacity for in-state testing.
The government has tried to respond to mounting criticism about the shortage of testing kits. On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence promised to increase supply, saying 1.5 million tests would be made available. So far, however, the actual number of tests being administered fails to live up to that promise — as of Friday, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said the CDC had distributed enough tests for 75,000 people, and partnered with a private firm to distribute material for 700,000 additional tests.
Trump’s CDC presser confirms everything people were worried about if Covid-19 hit the US
Even before the recent uptick in US-based Covid-19 cases, critics of the Trump administration’s coronavirus response argued the administration was disorganized and ill-equipped to combat Covid-19. As Vox’s Matt Yglesias has written, the president was slow to put someone in charge of the coronavirus response efforts — and when he finally did, he selected Vice President Mike Pence, someone who failed in his responses to public health crises while serving as governor of Indiana, according to experts. And there were also concerns Trump’s efforts to cut CDC funding — and the size of the administration’s initial coronavirus budget — might have limited the government’s ability to fight the virus effectively.
But experts have argued the biggest issue with the administration’s coronavirus response so far is, as former director of the USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance Jeremy Konyndyk told Vox’s Alex Ward, Trump has “made it primarily about himself.”
And this concern was on display at the CDC press conference when Trump took time to talk at length about his own intelligence, in part by referencing a “great, super genius” uncle who taught at MIT.
“I like this stuff. I really get it,” Trump said. “People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors say, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should’ve done that instead of running for president.”
Trump’s public response, however, is a reminder of how he has recently put his public health knowledge into question. During a White House meeting on Monday with pharmaceutical executives and public health officials, Trump displayed his ignorance by pushing for a vaccine to be developed in a few months (something he has promised the public will happen) — even though that’s just not how it works.
And he went on to express confusion as to why pharmaceutical companies can’t release the drugs they are currently working on immediately, as Vox’s Aaron Rupar reported:
Trump pressed the pharmaceutical leaders on why they can’t just release the coronavirus drugs their companies are working on tomorrow — in the process revealing that he doesn’t understand the concept of clinical trials.
“So you have a medicine that’s already involved with the coronaviruses, and now you have to see if it’s specifically for this. You can know that tomorrow, can’t you?” he said.
“Now the critical thing is to do clinical trials,” explained Daniel O’Day, CEO of Gilead Sciences, which has two phase-three clinical trials going for remdesivir, a potential treatment for the coronavirus. “We have two clinical trials going on in China that were started several weeks ago … we expect to get that information in April.”
Hours after learning about how vaccines work and the timeline for a potential coronavirus vaccine, Trump told supporters at a rally: “We had a great meeting today with a lot of the great companies, and they’re going to have vaccines I think relatively soon. And they’re going to have something that makes you better, and that’s going to actually take place we think even sooner.”
It isn’t clear why Trump said this, particularly after seemingly having been disabused of his misconceptions in his White House meeting, but such a statement does not support his claim at the CDC that “I understand that whole [scientific] world.”
Nor did the president’s CDC visit allay concerns about a lack of coordination between officials. If anything, it added confusion to an already tumultuous — and potentially dangerous — situation.
For example, the Trump administration has been offering a variety of answers to the question of whether the country is experiencing a shortage of test kits (it is). On Thursday, Pence said, “We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward,” according to The Hill.
Trump, however, had a completely different message as he boasted of the US’s testing capabilities in Atlanta on Friday, saying, “Anybody who needs a test gets a test. … They have the tests and the tests are beautiful.”
This left Pence with the difficult task Friday of attempting to bring his factually correct messaging in line with the president’s incorrect statements.
“I think for any American that’s symptomatic, speaking to your doctor, if you have reason to believe that you have been exposed to the coronavirus, I have every confidence that your physician would contact state health officials and have access to the state lab,” Pence said at a White House briefing. And this, unlike Trump’s statement, is closer to the truth — the CDC revised its testing guidelines on Wednesday, allowing primary physicians to conduct testing in concert with local authorities. Whether local labs have the ability to process those tests, or if those tests are even available, however, remains a matter of concern.
Although we’ve grown used to the Trump administration’s frequent inconsistency in messaging, it becomes dangerous in times like this, when transparent communication is key in helping contain a disease and keep trust in the government strong. And Trump’s tendency to self-aggrandize is not helpful in a moment that calls for collaboration and creating an apolitical environment.
Trump continues to politicize the Covid-19 outbreak
In fact, perhaps the most concerning aspect of the CDC conference was how it gave us a glimpse into Trump’s view of the coronavirus as a political rather than health-based issue.
During his remarks, Trump said he would rather have the passengers of the Grand Princess, a cruise ship docked in San Francisco with 21 confirmed cases onboard, stay on the ship than move to land — all because doing so would raise the number of total Covid-19 cases in the US.
“I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are,” Trump said. “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault. And it wasn’t the fault of the people on the ship either, okay? It wasn’t their fault either and they’re mostly Americans. So, I can live either way with it. I’d rather have them stay on, personally.”
Trump’s comment suggests a grim reality: that keeping the number of Covid-19 cases low is more important to him than the actual people who have the disease — all because he wants to avoid the political fallout of a growing case count.
And that wasn’t the only political moment during the conference — he also took time out to praise Fox News for its ratings, attack CNN as “fake news,” and smear Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee — who was praised by Pence for his work in fighting the spread of Covid-19 — as a “snake” who wants to “take advantage” of the administration’s kindness.
These sort of attacks undercut the seriousness of the situation — and they also draw attention toward Trump and away from the coronavirus itself. And they come at a time when the virus needs more attention than ever.
The Trump campaign announced Friday that it sued CNN for libel over an opinion article, saying it wants the network to be held “accountable for intentionally publishing false statements against” it.
The big picture: It’s the latest of a series of libel suits by the campaign aimed at media outlets’ opinion articles on issues linked to Russia. Over the last few weeks, the campaign has also sued the New York Times and the Washington Post, alleging similar motives.
While President Trump has often threatened to sue news organizations for libel, he has rarely followed through.
The efforts face a relatively high bar for proof compared to most lawsuits. In order for a public official to successfully sue for libel, they must be able to prove that the defendant acted with “actual malice.”
The article named in the suit, written by CNN contributor Larry Noble and published in June, states that “the Trump campaign assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table.”
That assertion is backed up earlier in the piece by citing a Trump interview last year with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, where Trump said he’d “want to hear” information offered on political opponents by a foreign government. His statement in that interview was also used to support an argument in one of the Post pieces that resulted in a lawsuit.
Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis: “The campaign filed this lawsuit against CNN and the preceding suits against The New York Times and The Washington Post to hold the publishers accountable for their reckless false reporting and also to establish the truth: that the campaign did not have an agreement, quid pro quo, or collusion with Russia, as the Mueller Report concluded.”
President Donald Trump, in comments to reporters Friday, targeted CNN over the network’s coverage of coronavirus.
Mick Mulvaney said Friday that the media is using the coronavirus news to hurt the president, saying at CPAC, “The press was covering their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring down the president.”
Trump was asked today if he thinks “this is a hoax.”
Trump responded by going after CNN in particular, calling it a “very disreputable network” that’s “doing everything they can to instill fear in people and I think it’s ridiculous.”
“Some of [the Democrats] are trying to gain political favor by saying a lot of untruths,” he claimed.
Trump touted the success the U.S. has seen so far and added, “Some people are giving us credit for that and some people aren’t, but the only ones that aren’t — they don’t mean it, it’s political, it’s politics.”
Earlier today CNN media reporters called out Fox News for comments similar to the president’s, with Brian Stelter saying, “They feel the need to protect the president from potential political damage by saying the Democrats and the media are out to get you. I think most will see through it, but it is still reprehensible.”
President Trump tweeted on Saturday morning to explain why he fired national security official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who had testified before the House Intelligence Committee that the president’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “improper.”
“I don’t know [Vindman], never spoke to him or met him (I don’t believe!) but, he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrectly…….and was given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to, who publicly stated that Vindman had problems with judgement, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information. In other words, ‘OUT.'”
Context: Vindman was fired on Friday just before U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was dismissed. The firings took place two days after Trump was acquitted by the Senate.
Trump “expressed deep anger … over the attempt to remove him from office because of his actions toward Ukraine,” the Washington Post writes.
President Donald Trump’s targeting of CNN is moving to yet another arena: The annual presidential lunch with television network anchors.CNN anchors are being excluded from Tuesday’s lunch, three sources said on Monday night.Trump, like presidents before him, typically invites anchors from all the major networks to dine with him at the White House in advance of his State of the Union address. The lunch conversation is considered off the record, but it gives the anchors a sense of the president’s state of mind before they anchor SOTU coverage. “Despite Trump’s persistent attacks on the news media, he’s kept up such traditions,” Politico pointed out last year.CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer attended last year’s lunch. Blitzer has been attending these lunches longer than almost any other anchor — 20 years in a row.
Journalists from other networks are still planning on attending Tuesday’s session, according to sources at those networks.This is the first time in recent memory that a president has singled out one network and opted to not invite any anchors from there.White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham did not respond to a request for comment on Monday night.The president has directed his ire at CNN dozens of times over the past three years. He has declined all of CNN’s requests to sit down with him for an interview and has denigrated both the network as a whole and some of its individual journalists. His administration also suspended chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass until a federal court ruled in CNN’s favor.
At a time when our nation is facing an epidemic of mass shootings, supporters of President Donald Trump showed a violent depiction of a fake Trump massacring members of the news media using a gun and other weapons at a conference held at one of the president’s resorts, the New York Times reported Sunday night.
American Priority, a group that supports the president, hosted the conference at Trump National Doral Miami. Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and Florida Governor Rick DeSantis were all scheduled to speak at the event. But Huckabee Sanders and a source close to Trump Jr. denied either saw the video.
Bloomberg technology reporter William Turton surfaced a video matching the description from the Timeson YouTube. The video appears to have been uploaded by YouTube account TheGeekzTeam in July 2018, and the account has posted other videos doctored to make it look like Trump is violently killing his enemies. Although Turton said he has not yet been able to confirm the YouTube video was the same one played at the conference, the details in the video as described by the Times line up, although portions like the Barack Obama interview at the end of the video were not reported to have been shown.
In the video,a man with Trump’s head superimposed on his body goes into a building labeled the “Church of Fake News” where people inside are labeled with logos of major news outlets including Vox, Politico, the Washington Post, HuffPost, ABC and NBC covering their heads. Trump then opens fire, killing numerous media outlets including Vox, Politico and NPR, in addition to activist group Black Lives Matter. The fake Trump begins his rampage using a gun but later switches to a wooden stake and a knife. Also in the video are Hillary Clinton, Maxine Waters, Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, John McCain and Rosie O’Donnell — all of them are slaughtered by the killer Trump. The mass murder ends with the president driving a wooden stake into the head of a person depicted as the church’s minister with a CNN logo covering their face as DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” plays in the background.
The footage, the Times said, was taken and doctored from a church massacre scene in the dark comedy “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”
When we are barely a year out from the tragic Capital Gazette shooting in Maryland that killed five of the newspaper’s staff not to mention other recent mass shootings in churches, synagogues and mosques, videos like this are particularly dangerous, especially when they are broadcast at events even loosely affiliated with the president and on property he owns.
During a speech that was ostensibly about Medicare, President Donald Trump bashed CNN and argued for the creation of a pro-Trump network to cover the United States abroad.
“Their ratings are so low that they are no longer a big difference at all, they have really bad ratings,” Trump told a crowd in Florida Thursday. “Do you know what’s bad for our country? When CNN, I go to a foreign country … CNN outside of the United States is much more important than inside the United States and a lot of what you see here is broadcast throughout the world.”
Trump then said “we used to have Radio Free Europe and Voice of America. We did that to build up our country. That isn’t working out too well.” Radio Free Europe and Voice of America are still in operation.
“CNN is a voice that really seems to be the voice out there and it’s a terrible thing for our country. We should start our own network and put some real news out there because they are so bad for our country,” Trump argued.
“We’re looking at that, we should do something about that– put in some really talented people and and get a voice out there not a voice that’s fake,” he said.