President Donald Trump scolded Fox News chief White House correspondent John Roberts during Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing after the FNC correspondent asked a CNN-esque question that wasn’t rooted in reality.
Roberts asked the question after another reporter at the briefing confronted Trump about Democrat front-runner presidential candidate Joe Biden’s interest in having a private phone conversation with him about the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
“Oh absolutely,” Trump replied when asked if he’d take the call. “I’d love to. … I always found him to be a nice guy. I don’t know him very well, frankly, but I think he’s probably a nice guy. No, if he’d like to call it, I’d absolutely take his call. You can tell him.”
That’s when Roberts interrupted to ask his question.
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“But you have talked about the failings of the Obama Administration and leaving you with empty shelves and no plans …,” Roberts first said.
He was trying to argue that Trump’s scathing criticisms of the Obama administration, of which Biden was clearly a part, doesn’t match his claim that he believes Biden’s “probably a nice guy.”
“And no ammunition. Maybe no ammunition,” the president cut in, taking another shot at the Obama administration.
Roberts continued, “They got rid of the pandemic office and the National Security Council.”
“We didn’t do that,” the president replied. “That turned out to be a false story. Now you’re starting to go. What are you working for, CNN?”
Roberts might as well have been.
As noted by former National Security Council official Tim Morrison in an op-ed last month, the president “didn’t ‘dissolve’ its pandemic response office.”
How did he know? Because “I was there,” he explained.
“It has been alleged by multiple officials of the Obama administration, including in The Post, that the president and his then-national security adviser, John Bolton, ‘dissolved the office’ at the White House in charge of pandemic preparedness,” he wrote.
“Because I led the very directorate assigned that mission, the counterproliferation and biodefense office, for a year and then handed it off to another official who still holds the post, I know the charge is specious.”
Rather, Morrison continued, Trump simply reorganized the functions of the pandemic office under a new directorate.
— Tony Mariani (@tonymariani) March 18, 2020
It’s not clear why Roberts wasn’t aware of this.
“I’m pointing out what they have said and what you have said. That’s all,” he said Wednesday, trying but failing to defend his inaccurate question.
“I thought you were with Fox. Fox isn’t so easy either. Don’t kid yourself,” the president replied before diving into a lecture.
“Look, John, let me tell you something — you know that’s a false story,” he continued. “What you just said is a false story. This doctor knows it better than anybody. No, but you shouldn’t be repeating a story that you know is false. All right.”
The president then moved on to another question from another reporter.
Meanwhile, Roberts has since become a hero to the fact-free “Resistance.”
— TLRiddle (@IFeelPrtty) April 2, 2020
Thank you @johnrobertsFox for asking your question about why the NSC pandemic response team was dismantled by Trump’s order. Please ask that question until he answers it factually. Drag him out of his alternative reality. https://t.co/CSwZBVUCqJ
— Michael F Ozaki MD (@brontyman) April 2, 2020
@johnrobertsFox thank you for standing up to Trump
— PeanutTom44 (@PTom44) April 2, 2020
@johnrobertsFox thank you John for your coverage every day and your good questions every day during the breifing❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
— Marcy Athan Bucy (@MarcyAthanBucy) April 2, 2020
— Forties Female (@anxiety_hsp) April 2, 2020
Thank you for being brave enough to ask Trump a question about the pandemic team and his dissolution of it.
Please keep asking him to tell the truth.
— Diane (@FollowMal) April 2, 2020
Thank you for calling out Trump on his disbanding of the Pandemic Task Force.
Tomorrow, please ask him why FEMA is still sending our US stockpile of masks, ventilators and medical supplies overseas.
— ✨ just jill ✨ (@justjillsherman) April 2, 2020
— Mike Tessman (@LMikeTessman) April 2, 2020
During Wednesday’s briefing, Roberts also went after Vice President Mike Pence over concerns about uninsured Americans.
“There are a lot of people who are worried about getting sick, and do they end up in a hospital?” he said. “People who are uninsured and will they be crushed by medical bills.”
“You were considering last month, it’s last month already, in March, reopening the healthcare.gov exchanges. There has been a determination not to do that. Could you tell us what the rationale was behind that decision, and what would you have as an alternative?”
The VP replied by explaining that Medicaid exists for those “underprivileged Americans” who cannot afford health insurance.
“Well, all across America we have Medicaid for underprivileged Americans, and at the president’s direction, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare services has given unprecedented waivers for states to expand coverage for coronavirus testing and treatment,” he said.
“We’ve also extended waivers for Medicare administration to make sure that people have access to that coverage. But we’re going to continue to bring opportunities to the traditional systems of Medicaid in particular for the uninsured in America.”
(Source: Fox News)
“Can you expand that to cover [the] middle class?” Roberts then asked.
The answer is clearly no, because one, money doesn’t grow on trees, and two, Medicaid is designed to help those in genuine need, not those who already have money but may have voluntarily spent it elsewhere.
Regardless, this line of questioning has also earned him kudos from the left.
Good questioning from @johnrobertsFox about Obamacare exchanges pries a long non-answer from VP Mike Pence, leading Trump to sort of praise Pence for his non-answer. Bizarre.
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) April 1, 2020
Thank you, @johnrobertsFox, for the masterclass.
Journalists, I hope you heard how he continued to press Pence for an answer as to why Trump won’t reopen Obamacare enrollment. Because we need so much more of that.
— mary e. gilmore (@maryegilmore) April 1, 2020
@johnrobertsFox thank you thank you, brilliant relentlessness on Obamacare open enrollment!! Totally avoided your question to the point of embarrassment
The VP is a straight up liar and should be fired.
— lori (@lhd1027) April 1, 2020
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