‘I’m not being overly optimistic or pessimistic. I sure as hell think we oughta give it a try…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) President Donald Trump on Friday shut down an NBC reporter for sensationalist fearmongering while trying to convey a message of optimism about a potential treatment for the coronavirus.
“What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?” asked NBC’s Peter Alexander.
“I’d say that you’re a terrible reporter. That’s what I’d say,” Trump replied.
Trump elaborated by criticizing Alexander and his parent companies, NBC and Comcast (“I don’t call it Comcast, I call it Con-cast,” he said) for continuing to put sensationalism above social responsibility.
“I think it’s a very nasty question, and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people,” he said. “The American people are looking for answers, and they are looking for hope.”
The exchange with Alexander came as Trump was responding to a prior question about hydroxychloroquine, a drug being tested by the Food and Drug Administration that “anecdotally” has yielded some positive results.
Trump said he felt optimistic about its chances of success. “I feel good about it,” he said. “That’s all it is, just a feeling. I’m a smart guy… and we’re gonna see, we’re gonna see soon enough.”
He noted that the drug had been on the market already for 20 years and was prescribed for malaria.
“It’s not a drug that you have a huge amount of danger with,” he said. “It’s not a drug that may have an unbelievable effect, like kill you … I’m not being overly optimistic or pessimistic. I sure as hell think we oughta give it a try.”
Alexander incredulously continued to push his defeatist line of interrogation, insisting that millions of people were terrified about the potential virus fallout.
But Trump was having none of it.
“Let me just tell you something: That’s really bad reporting, and you oughta get back to reporting instead of sensationalism,” he said before moving to another question.
After facing attacks for his initial virus response as he sought to tamp down an economy-wrecking panic, Trump’s regular press briefings and efforts to unify the country in both the health crisis and economic stimulus have since garnered strong bipartisan praise.
The Hill reported that a majority of the public now viewed his handling of the crisis favorably.
Even frequent Trump critics like Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Govs. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY, and Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., have seemed to give him high marks for his somber but hopeful messaging.
Even so, some in the media have been unable to transcend their comfort-zones of kneejerk Trump-bashing during the crisis.
Several reporters during Wednesday’s press briefing accused Trump of racism for labeling the pandemic the “Chinese virus” and claimed, without evidence, that Asians were being persecuted as a result.