President Trump’s patience with the White House press corps has obviously been tested in his daily coronavirus briefings, with several of the most contemptuous mainstream correspondents constantly pummeling him in their quest of landing the ultimate “gotcha” question. Of course, the president is not shy about counter-punching any who step up with the next attempted roundhouse.
On Monday, Trump left two reporters in particular in his wake as roadkill.
“I know you don’t want to talk about the inspector general report but testing is still a big issue in this country,” Kristin Fisher of Fox News began, pushing for added commentary about coronavirus testing issues. “When can hospitals …”
At this point, Trump demonstrably sighed and turned away, asking for an audiovisual slide to be put back up on the screen.
“When can hospitals expect to receive a quick turnaround of the test results?” Fisher asked.
A bar chart showing a steep increase in COVID-19 testing in the U.S. over the last two weeks was shown.
“Are you ready?” Trump mockingly replied. “Hospitals can do their own testing also. States can do their own testing. States can do their own testing. Hospitals are supposed to be doing their own testing. Do you understand that?
“We’re the federal government,” continued Trump. “We’re not supposed to stand on street corners doing testing. They go to doctors. They go to hospitals. They go to the state. The state is a more localized government. You have 50 of them. You also have territories as you know. And they do the testing. And if you look at the chart, if you take a look … just take a look. These are testing and the results are now coming in very quickly. Initially speaking the tests were old, obsolete and not really prepared. We have a brand new testing system that we developed very quickly. And that’s your result,” gesturing toward the chart.
“You should say, ‘congratulations, great job,’ instead of being so horrid in the way you ask a question.”
Admiral Brett Giroir at that point stepped to the podium to further explain the recent successes and turnaround in the testing capabilities that have quickly ramped up across the country. He also questioned the relativity of an inspector general report released Monday that was based on interviews conducted 10 to 14 days earlier about how the nation’s hospitals were coping with the pandemic outbreak. Reporters had seized on the IG report and repeatedly asked about the shortfalls in PPE gear and tests from that earlier period.
Trump went on to confront Jon Karl of ABC who had started an argument over the IG report’s criticism of the medical supply shortages. “How long has that person been in government?” the president asked, referring to the inspector general who authored the report.
“Uhh, this [person] did serve in the previous administration,” Karl admitted.
“Oh, you didn’t tell me that. Oh, you didn’t tell me that, John. Did serve in the previous administration–you mean the Obama Administration. Thank you for telling me that. See, there’s a typical fake news deal,” Trump scoffed.
“You asked me when she was appointed. I told you when she was appointed,” Karl replied.
“You’re a third-rate reporter,” Trump charged, pointing at Karl. “What you just said is a disgrace. You asked me, you said, “sir, just got appointed.’ Take a look at what you said. Now, I said, when did they, when did this person, how long in government? Well, it was appointed in the Obama administration. Thank you very much. John. Thank you very much. You will never make it.”
Video by Fox Business
At that point, one could almost hear echoing in the background: “Clean-up in the press briefing room, please.”
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