- CNN had a field day with its chyrons after President Donald Trump spent most of Monday’s coronavirus briefing lashing out as his perceived foes, airing a video that was described as propaganda, and claiming he has “total” authority as president.
- “Trump melts down in angry response to reports he ignored virus warnings,” said one chyron.
- Another read: “Angry Trump uses propaganda video, produced by government employees at taxpayers’ expense.”
- “Trump uses task force briefing to try and rewrite history on coronavirus response,” said another.
President Donald Trump spent most of Monday’s coronavirus briefing lashing out as his perceived enemies, airing a video that many described as political propaganda, and claiming he has “total” authority as president.
“That is the biggest meltdown of a president of the United States that I’ve ever seen in my career,” CNN’s Jim Acosta said while Trump’s briefing was still ongoing. “I don’t think a reasonable person could watch what we just saw over the last hour and conclude that the president is in control.”
The network also had a field day with its chyrons while Trump was airing out his grievances Monday.
A sampling of some of the chyrons:
- “Trump melts down in angry response to reports he ignored virus warnings”
- “Angry Trump uses propaganda video, produced by government employees at taxpayers’ expense”
- “Trump: I was ‘brutalized’ by press”
- “Trump uses task force briefing to try and rewrite history on coronavirus response”
Trump has drawn sharp criticism for his administration’s inaction in the early days of the US coronavirus outbreak. The World Health Organization declared the virus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, a pandemic last month.
It originated in China, but the US is now the global epicenter of the outbreak. To date, 2,019,320 people around the world have been infected, and 119,483 have died. In the US, there are 682,619 confirmed cases and 23,529 deaths.
The Trump administration has since drawn renewed scrutiny for slashing public-health programs, failing to conduct early rigorous testing to detect and contain the disease’s spread, and ignoring multiple warnings from intelligence officials and government agencies of an impending pandemic.
Trump has also failed to maintain a consistent message as the US grapples with the outbreak.
He initially downplayed the risk of the coronavirus, called it a Democratic “hoax,” and insisted it was no more dangerous than the flu and that the US was well-prepared to handle it.
As the disease gained a stronger foothold in the country in mid-March, Trump acknowledged the severity of the crisis and falsely claimed he “felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
He pivoted to focus on the economy late last month and said the US would “be open for business” again “very soon,” despite public-health officials saying that preemptively lifting stay-at-home orders would exacerbate the outbreak. But Trump doubled down, saying, “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”
On Monday, Trump raised eyebrows when he baselessly claimed he has the authority to compel governors to reopen their states’ economies as the coronavirus outbreak becomes more manageable.
“When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s got to be,” the president said.
Earlier Monday, the governors of California, Washington, and Oregon said they were working together on a West Coast plan to safely reopen those states, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a multi-state coalition to coordinate on ways to reopen the region’s economy as the spread of the virus becomes more manageable.
The move came as Trump and many of his top administration officials have been adamant about rolling back social-distancing measures to fire up the economy as the nation faces mounting unemployment and economic distress.
Cuomo and the governors of the western states made their announcement after Trump falsely suggested on Twitter that reopening the country “is the decision of the President.”
(Fact check: The decision is up to individual states.)
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins pressed Trump during Monday’s briefing on his baseless claim that his “authority is total” as president, saying, “That is not true. Who told you that?”
“Yeah, so you know what we’re going to do?” Trump replied. “We are going to write up papers on this. It’s not going to be necessary because the governors need us one way or the other. Because ultimately it comes with the federal government.”
(Fact check: The Tenth Amendment delegates “police powers” to the states to regulate behavior during public health crises.)
Still, Trump pressed on, saying, “The federal government has absolute power. As to whether I’ll use that power, we’ll see.”