At press briefing, Trump also played video montage of media downplaying virus risks “because we’re getting Fake News and I’d like to have it corrected”
Today’s Wuhan coronavirus press briefing was an amazing event.
First, Anthony Fauci eviscerated claims in the media that Trump refused to follow mitigation recommendations soon enough.
That claim was made after the media misleadingly cherrypicked a portion of a sentence from an interview Fauci did with Jake Tapper on Sunday. That created another frenzied news cycle about how Trump had blood on his hands.
Fauci eviscerated that narrative:
“When people discuss — not necessarily in front of the president — people discuss, they say, ‘Well you know, this is gonna have maybe a harmful effect on this or on that’. So it was a poor choice of words. There wasn’t anybody saying, ‘No, you shouldn’t do that’, ” Fauci said.
Fauci said he was answering a “hypothetical question” on TV.
“Mitigation works. So if mitigation works … and you initiated earlier, you will probably have saved more lives,” he said.
Fauci said on two occasions he and White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx approached Trump twice to recommend restrictions and that both times he agreed.
“The first and only time that Dr. Birx and I went in and formally made a recommendation to the president to actually have a ‘shut down’ in the sense of not really a shut down but to really have strong mitigation. We discussed it, obviously there would be concern by some that, in fact, there might have some negative consequences. Nonetheless, the president listened to the recommendation and went to the mitigation,” Fauci said.
Fauci added: “The next second time that I went with Dr. Birx into the president and said, ’15 days are not enough. We need to go 30 days.’ … the president went with the health recommendations and we extended it another 30 days.”
Fauci just eviscerated mainstream media claim that Trump didn't follow health recommendations. Congrats mainstream media, you are the worst.
— Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) April 13, 2020
CBS News reporter Paula Reid then suggested Fauci’s statement was not voluntary, to which Fauci told her everything he does is voluntary and not even to suggest otherwise.
Journalist asks: “Are you doing this voluntarily?”
Dr. Fauci: “Everything I do is voluntary.. please.. don’t even imply that.” pic.twitter.com/sG8TV9ndVI
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) April 13, 2020
Trump also offered a spirited defense of himself and critique of Democrats.
President Trump: "In February, Nancy Pelosi said we should come to Chinatown. This is late February. 'Come to Chinatown, we think it's very safe, come here, let's all have the big parade.'" pic.twitter.com/S8BrF1u2oU
— The Hill (@thehill) April 13, 2020
In a moment that had laughing so hard I cut my hand while slicing cheese (seriously), Trump then made the reporters in the room sit through a several-minute long compilation of media downplaying the virus danger, as well as a timeline of Trump’s actions.
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) April 13, 2020
Jon Karl of ABC News was not amused, but Trump promised more.
SAVAGE TRUMP🔥@jonkarl reacts to the montage of the Media downplaying Coronavirus: "I have never seen a video like that played in this room.. Why did you feel the need to do that?”
TRUMP: "Because we’re getting Fake News & I’d like to have it corrected”https://t.co/pamG2yii1u
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) April 13, 2020
CNN and MSNBC actually continued coverage for much of it, then cut away.
As an added bonus, CNN proved why its news coverage is total garbage. Get a look at these chyrons, which a CNN reporter is quite proud of.
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) April 13, 2020
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