“Every decision that we’re making is made to save lives. It’s really our sole consideration, we want to save lives,” the president began his remarks, before pivoting to the media.
According to Trump, some publications are dedicated to spreading rumors and causing panic.
“It’s therefore critical that certain media outlets stop spreading false rumors and spreading fear and even panic with the public. It’s just incredible,” the commander-in-chief said, refusing to reveal which outlets he is referring to. “I could name them, but, it’s the same ones. Always the same ones.”
According to Trump, the media is looking to increase ratings during the pandemic, while its approval with the public is at a record low. Trump concluded the tirade against the press by suggesting that members of the press should focus on covering the coronavirus pandemic, for now, and then go back to publishing “fake news” stories.
“It’s so bad for our country, so bad for the world. Ought to put it together for a while, get this over with and then go back to your fake news.”
Since acknowledging the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, Trump has been holding daily press conferences with members of his task force. The president has used the events to rip into the media, criticize his political opponents, and tout what he claims are his administration’s accomplishments.
During one of the conferences, he slammed The Washington Post for alleging that U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the pandemic in the months of January and February. The president said that China is to blame for the pandemic, noting that the country’s authoritarian government has expelled a number of American journalists.
Trump doesn't last 4 minutes in his coronavirus briefing before he goes on a rant about the media and "fake news," because he is mad about a Washington Post story about the chaos and failure in his coronavirus response. pic.twitter.com/WzDKT5FZlG
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) April 4, 2020
Saturday’s press conference was particularly grim. The president warned the nation that one of the “toughest weeks” in the fight against the virus is ahead, saying “there will be death.” According to Trump, even though the administration is doing all it can to prevent the virus from spreading, the worst is yet to come.
Nevertheless, Trump signaled that he is frustrated with the fact that the economy is still closed, pushing back against the idea of implementing a full national lockdown to tackle the virus. According to him, such measures are not necessary.
The administration recently extended social distancing guidelines until the end of April, even though Trump had previously suggested that he wanted the economy to be reopened by Easter in order to avert a major crisis.