Trump Turns Another Briefing Into A Campaign Rally

Instead of using tonight’s briefing to update Americans on the coronavirus, Trump turned it into a campaign rally where he attacked anyone who has pointed out his failures, downplayed the number of U.S. fatalities and  lied about our testing capacity.

Trump turned the briefing into a campaign rally where he aired his grievances instead of providing any new information to Americans about the fight against coronavirus. 

New York Times’s Maggie Haberman: “No news at this briefing so far.”

CNN’s Daniel Dale: “The president is, again, saying stuff.”

National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar: “Trump is overextending himself with the daily briefings. What’s newsworthy here?”

Los Angeles Times’s Chris Megerian: “It’s free air time in an election year, and the president is trying to drown out any critical voices.”

Los Angeles Times’s Eli Stokols: “This briefing, not initially on today’s schedule, seems almost entirely a response to news coverage. The president is obviously frustrated with a lack of credit and praise from the press and is largely just congratulating himself.”

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “We were told he was going to brief about the current state of the coronavirus crisis, but clearly he is on a political tear — attacking reporters, attacking The New York Times, saying he inherited garbage when in fact he inherited a plan from the Obama administration and an office on pandemics, which he then disassembled … as well as medical health officials who were pre-positioned in China who might have spotted the beginning of this pandemic.”

NPR’s Domenico Montanaro: “Saturday’s briefing brought to you by Trump’s Greatest Hits, including complaining about broken system, touting that the federal government has done everything perfectly (‘We didn’t miss a trick’) and complaining about the test. News? Not so much.”

MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin: “The president continues to use large parts of his briefing on the coronavirus pandemic to air grievances instead of discuss the coronavirus pandemic.”

Washington Post’s Philip Rucker: “Lots and lots of grievances being aired right now by the president at the coronavirus briefing.”

CNN’s Daniel Dale: “Rally, rally, we want a rally: Trump bashes Iran, ‘Sleepy Joe,’ and John Kerry; repeats his usual exaggerated figure for how much money Iran got in the nuclear deal (and doesn’t explain it was Iran’s money); falsely insists that Americans aren’t paying  his tariffs on China.”

Trump is desperate to downplay the crisis and falsely claim success against the virus, so he deemphasized the many Americans who have lost their lives.

Reuters’s Jeff Mason: “Trump opens up his press conference by saying the U.S. has fewer deaths per capita than other nations, says China is way ahead in terms of death (despite the numbers)”

Vox’s Aaron Rupar: “The US has the most coronavirus deaths in the world, but Trump begins the April 18 #TrumpPressConf by claiming America ‘has produced better health outcomes than any other country, with the possible exception of Germany.’”

HuffPost’s S.V. Dáte: “Trump now spinning the 37,938 dead Americans thus far as a victory, and a lower per-capita mortality rate compared to other countries [a dubious claim, given the per-capita testing] so it’s going to be that kind of couple of hours.”

Trump continued to lie about our testing capacity, claiming that governors are not using the government’s “tremendous testing capacity,” when it is his failure to get supplies to states that is holding back expanded testing.

MSNBC’s Chris Jansing: “Trump is now claiming that there is ‘tremendous testing capacity’ but claims Democratic governors are complaining and don’t want to use the capacity.”

CNN’s Daniel Dale: “Trump is repeating his vague claims that the US testing system is great and better than those of other countries, that the US system used to be somehow obsolete, and that other leaders, whom he’s never named, are asking him what to do about testing.”

Washington Post: “There is no national testing strategy, but rather a patchwork of programs administered by states with limited federal guidance. Federal officials are still getting requests from private laboratories for help obtaining the necessary reagents to conduct tests, a person involved in the task force said. Meanwhile, the American Hospital Association has raised concerns with the administration about a lack of testing supplies.”

Trump continues to look for scapegoats to blame for his testing failures, instead of focusing on ramping up testing.

CNN’s Daniel Dale: “Trump on testing: ‘I inherited broken junk.’ There was no inherited test for the novel coronavirus.”

HuffPost’s S.V. Dáte: “‘I started with an obsolete broken system.’ That, again, is a lie. There was no test to leave Trump, because the virus did not come into being until November 2019. [Trump had the opportunity to learn about this from US intel sources, but he apparently chose not to.]”

Business Insider’s John Haltiwanger: “This is one of Trump’s most repetitive and debunk-able talking points re: his handling of coronavirus and the testing debacle”

Trump continues to let China off the hook after defending the country’s coronavirus response for months so he could finish his failed trade deal. 

Bloomberg: “Here’s how Trump responded when asked if China should face consequences if evidence is found they are ‘knowingly responsible’ for the #coronavirus”

Los Angeles Times’s Eli Stokols: “Trump, who keeps harping on China hiding information, doesn’t clearly answer the q of what he wants from China now. ‘They said they’re doing an investigation,’ he said. ‘We’ll see what happens.’”

Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher: “Trump [consistently] repeatedly hits out at China but will not criticise the Chinese President whom he praised for his efforts and transparency in the early days of the crisis”

Los Angeles Times’s Eli Stokols: “‘I don’t want to embarrass leaders that I like,’ Trump continues, explaining his reluctance to really criticize Xi directly even as he scapegoats China broadly.”

New York Times: “Decision-making was also complicated by a long-running dispute inside the administration over how to deal with China. The virus at first took a back seat to a desire not to upset Beijing during trade talks.”

Trump attacked states and governors who are implementing his own social distancing guidelines, after previously abdicating responsibility and leaving governors on their own to reopen their states.

MSNBC’s Chris Jansing: “Trump says ‘some of the governors have gotten carried away’ just minutes after Dr Birx praised social distancing and other guidelines for bringing down the number of deaths from the coronavirus”

National Public Radio’s Domenico Montanaro: “Trump is setting up a fight with states that don’t lift restrictions — even though his very own guidelines (or the ones written for him) urge a cautious approach.”

Politico: “The president’s suggestion that Americans should disobey state orders directly contradicts his own past statements acknowledging governors’ authority to announce restrictions to combat the disease’s spread. … The president’s seeming encouragement of the protesters Friday also flies in the face of federal social-distancing guidance, which is in effect until the end of the month, as well as his administration’s new recommendations advising states to proceed with caution when reopening.”