Donald Trump attacked NBC reporter Peter Alexander on Friday at his daily coronavirus press briefing. As NBC reports, the president called the White House correspondent a “terrible reporter” when he asked what Trump would say to the millions of Americans who are frightened by the ongoing pandemic.
“Is it possible that your impulse to put a positive spin on things is maybe giving Americans a false sense of hope and misrepresenting preparedness right now?” Alexander asked.
Trump replied that he didn’t believe so and went on to defend his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The president said that while he didn’t have evidence, he had a good feeling about the situation, particularly over the malarial drug that some experts are saying can help treat coronavirus victims.
“Smart guy, I feel good about it,” he insisted, saying we have “nothing to lose” in trying the medication.
At that point, the NBC reporter followed up with another question.
“What do you say to Americans who are scared, though? Nearly 200 dead, 14,000 who are sick, millions, as you witnessed, who are scared right now,” Alexander submitted.
“I say that you’re a terrible reporter,” Trump responded. “I think that’s a very nasty question. And I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.”
“You’re doing sensationalism,” he continued, calling out NBC and its parent company Comcast, which he referred to as “con-cast.”
He said that American people are looking for hope, not the type of questions that Alexander was asking, saying that he should get back to reporting instead of sensationalism.
“You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” he concluded.
Trump has an epic meltdown and goes on a screed about the media when he is asked what he would tell people who are scared. Trump called NBC's Peter Alexander a terrible reporter and started yelling and ranting. pic.twitter.com/dko6pIHrUt
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) March 20, 2020
Alexander was defended by CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins, who asked the president if attacking her colleague was the appropriate way to address the situation during a crisis of this nature.
In regards to the malarial medication, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that there was only anecdotal evidence of the drug’s ability to help patients and cautioned that there hadn’t been clinical trials. He declined to make a definitive claim about the drug’s efficacy.
Trump, however, insisted that he has been right about many things in the past and believed that time would tell on the drug.
Later on in the conference, Trump returned to attacking Alexander, saying that he had worked with the journalist in the past and felt that he wasn’t good at his job.
The interaction comes just a day after Trump joked that the media has been much nicer since they began adhering to social distancing recommendations.
Meanwhile, stocks took another dive as the president spoke at the conference, despite trending upward on Thursday.