This Friday, President Donald Trump again appeared at a press conference to discuss the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. — and it did not exactly go well. At one point, he wildly freaked out on NBC reporter Peter Alexander, who was trying to discuss the fear that many Americans feel. When asked for his response to that fear, Trump flipped out and called Alexander a “terrible reporter” who should be “ashamed.” The reality is that Trump has consistently dismissed this crisis, and his claim that he’s always taken it seriously is a lie. Not that long ago, he called Coronavirus concern a “hoax.”
It’s worth noting that just this Friday, NBC announced that one of their own staffers — longtime employee Larry Edgeworth — had died from the Coronavirus. Just on this Friday, the U.S. has reported some 2,700 new cases of the virus as of the early afternoon, and overall, at least 223 people have died from the disease. Alexander pointed to the gravity of the situation in his question, but Trump seemed to prefer to stick his head in the sand and lash out.
Larry Edgeworth, a beloved NBC News colleague and "the guy you wanted by your side no matter where you were," has died after testing positive for coronavirus. https://t.co/eOghkAHeNb
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 20, 2020
‘When you say Americans were scared, though, I guess nearly 200 dead, 14,000 who are sick, millions, as you witnessed, who are scared right now. What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?’
And without missing a beat, Trump flipped. He insisted in a rambling response:
‘I say that you’re a terrible reporter; that’s what I say. I think it’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 and Comcast. I don’t call it Comcast; I call it Concast. Let me just say something: that’s really bad reporting. And you want 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, but who knows: I’ve been right a lot. Let’s see what happens. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.’
Trump has an epic meltdown and goes on a screed about the media when he is asked what he would tell people who are scared. Trump called NBC's Peter Alexander a terrible reporter and started yelling and ranting. pic.twitter.com/dko6pIHrUt
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) March 20, 2020
So Americans are struggling across the U.S., and what’s the president got? An insistence that he’s been “right a lot” so — in his perception — everyone should just be quiet and sit down, apparently.
Meanwhile, officials are trying to plug the gaps in the federal government’s Coronavirus response. This Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) ordered “100 percent of non-essential work forces” in the state to stay home, which mirrors an order from California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) from just the day before for all of the state’s tens of millions of residents to stay at home, except for essential trips.
New York City has been hammered; Cuomo “said the rate of infection spread is double hospitals’ capacity and triple ICU units’ capacity,” meaning crucial supplies like ventilators and respirators are poised to simply run out. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has called on the president to mobilize the military to help his area.