8 times Trump berated journalists, calling them ‘nasty’ and ‘fake’ during his Covid-19 briefings
- President Donald Trump has consistently attacked the media for asking what he calls "threatening" or "nasty" questions during his coronavirus press briefings.
- Trump has berated reporters across multiple news outlets - including NBC, CBS, and the Associated Press - being critical of his response to the pandemic.
- On Monday, the president was so fed up with media critique that he showed his own video outlining his coronavirus response, as an attempt to "correct" the record and show that "everything we did was right."
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President Trump has consistently attacked reporters for asking negative or critical questions during his coronavirus press briefings.
In some cases, the president has gone so far as to call reporters "terrible," "fake," and "nasty," and telling some that they're "never going to make it." Trump has made it clear that he prefers positive, easy news coverage of his coronavirus response, rather than difficult or critical reviews. He even went out of his way on Monday to show a video lauding his administrations efforts over the past few months during the press briefing.
Here are eight times the president has lashed out at reporters covering his coronavirus response.
On March 20, Trump told NBC's Peter Alexander he was a "terrible reporter" after asking a question about what the president would say to Americans who feel afraid over the virus.
In late March, before the US had experienced the height of its outbreak and many Americans were unsure of what to make of the pandemic, Alexander asked the president to address Americans who might be afraid.
"What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?" Alexander asked.
Trump immediately fired back with, "I say that you're a terrible reporter; that's what I say," and told Alexander that his question was "very nasty" and put out a bad signal to Americans.
On March 29, Trump berated PBS News reporter Yamiche Alcindor for asking what he perceived as a "threatening" question about coronavirus equipment and told her to "be nice."
PBS News reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked the president to address a statement in which he said that governors don't actually need the equipment that they've requested to combat the virus, but Trump cut her off mid-sentence.
"I didn't say that," he said.
But when she challenged him and cited the statement from an interview on Fox News, Trump responded by saying, "Come on, come on. Why don't you people - why don't you act in a little more positive? It's always 'getcha, getcha, getcha.' And you know what? That's why nobody trusts the media anymore."
He then went on to berate her for once working for The New York Times and now working for PBS News Hour, and told her to "Be nice. Don't be threatening."
In a tweet after the briefing, Alcindor wrote: "I'm not the first human being, woman, black person or journalist to be told that while doing a job. My take: Be steady. Stay focused. Remember your purpose. And, always press forward."
On April 3, Trump berated CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang for her "nasty tone" after she asked him to clarify a statement his son-in-law Jared Kushner made.
Jared Kushner is in charge of the medical supply chain that delivers critical items to the doctors and nurses who are on the frontlines everyday. Yesterday he said it was â€œOURSâ€, so I asked what he meant. Trump did not like the question. https://t.co/pZfQiNVWne — Weijia Jiang (@weijia) April 3, 2020
Jiang asked Trump to clarify a statement made one day earlier by Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser and the president's son-in-law, which implied that the Strategic National Stockpile was reserved for the federal government rather than states.
After Kushner stated that "The notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile - it's not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use," Jiang was seeking clarification on what he meant by "our stockpile."
But the president quickly grew irritated by this question and began berating Jiang for asking a "gotcha" question in a "nasty tone."
"It's such a basic simple question and you try and make it sound so bad," Trump said. "You ought to be, you ought to be ashamed, you know what? You ought to be ashamed."
On April 5, when a reporter from the Associated Press attempted to ask Trump about the government's slow coronavirus response in April, Trump cut him off and told him to stop asking "wise guy questions."
"You should be thanking them for what they have done, not always asking wise guy questions" -- Trump ends the press briefing by berating an Associated Press reporter who dared to ask him about the government's slow response to coronavirus pic.twitter.com/EUq6SG42aN — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 6, 2020
On April 5, Trump cut off a reporter in the middle of a question about slow government response to the coronavirus pandemic, and asked him, "Who are you with?"
When the reporter answered "Associated Press," Trump responded by saying the media outlet was "not so great," and "not like it used to be."
He then told the reporter that he should be thankful for what government agencies have done during the pandemic, rather than asking "wise-guy questions."
On April 6, Trump lashed out against multiple reporters after questions over a Department of Health and Human Services inspector general report, which stated that the federal government failed to provide hospitals with adequate tests and equipment.
Fisher first attempted to ask Trump about the IG report after a survey of hospitals suggested that testing remained severely limited, but Trump dismissed the report as being "wrong."
After Fisher challenged him on that notion, the president asked her to confirm the inspector general's name and implied that partisan politics could be the reason for the negative report.
On the second time Fisher asked the question, Trump let out an annoyed sigh, and told her that she should "say congratulations, great job," about the administration's testing efforts instead of "being so horrid in the way you ask a question."
During the same press briefing, Trump called ABC's Jon Karl a "third-rate reporter" and told him that he will "never make it," after following up about the IG report.
After more questions came flooding in about the IG report, Trump asked the group of reporters how long the inspector general had been in government.
When Karl, who also authored a recent White House tell-all, replied that the principle deputy inspector general, Cristi Grimm, had served in the previous administration, Trump lashed out.
"You mean the Obama administration. Thank you for telling me that. See, there's the typical fake-news deal," Trump said.
"Look, you're a third-rate reporter," Trump added. "And what you just said is a disgrace, okay?"
He concluded: "You will never make it."
The president also berated Francesca Chambers of McClatchy Media after she asked a question about the Paycheck Protection Program and told her that she's "just incapable of asking a question in a positive way."
When Chambers asked about a confusing start to the Paycheck Protection Program, Trump cut her off by saying that he wished she asked the question differently by saying that the program got off to "a tremendous start," and that the problems had been worked out.
He then proceeded to tell her that she was "incapable of asking a question in a positive way," and ended with saying, "I wish we had a fair media in this country, and we really don't."
On April 13, Trump called CBS reporter Paula Reid "a fake" after she asked the president to explain what his administration did to respond to the pandemic in February.
After Trump played a video lauding the timeline of his coronavirus response, Reid noted that the video jumped from January to March, without information on what the administration did to combat the virus in February. In a heated exchange, Reid grilled the president on what his administration did during that time gap, saying, "The time that you bought, the argument is that you didn't use it to prepare hospitals, you didn't use it to ramp up testing," and asked the president to explain the administration's efforts.
Rather than answering the question, Trump fired back with "A lot, A lot," and told Reid pointedly, "Look, you know you're a fake. You know that. Your whole network - the way you cover it - is fake," and claimed that CBS' approval ratings were lower than they had ever been.
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