Donald Trump believes his political opponents want daily coronavirus briefings to end because of the high television ratings he has gotten for them.
The president took to Twitter on Friday to suggest that media and Democrats have been calling for an end to the briefings because of his own popularity.
“Because the T.V. Ratings for the White House News Conference’s are the highest, the Opposition Party (Lamestream Media), the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats &, of course, the few remaining RINO’S, are doing everything in their power to disparage & end them,” Trump tweeted. “The People’s Voice!”
The tweet came after Trump’s briefings have come under criticism, even from some media outlets generally more favorable to the president. This week, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial saying that the briefings have become “a boring show of the president vs. the press.” Trump responded with a tweet suggesting that the newspaper was ignoring his high television ratings.
The Wall Street Journal always “forgets” to mention that the ratings for the White House Press Briefings are “through the roof” (Monday Night Football, Bachelor Finale, according to @nytimes) & is only way for me to escape the Fake News & get my views across. WSJ is Fake News!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 9, 2020
That prompted a reply from Fox News host Britt Hume, who called out Trump for bragging about ratings when he could instead be focusing on delivering much-needed updates to the American people.
“This is a ridiculous tweet. He could get his views across without bragging, endlessly repeating himself, and getting into petty squabbles with the junior varsity players in the WH press corps,” Hume tweeted. “And he could stop talking much sooner to give Pence, Fauci, Birx and Giroir more time.”
As Deadline noted, Hume’s criticism of Trump comes even as the Fox News senior political reporter has publicly questioned the modeling figures used to project the number of deaths across the U.S. from coronavirus.
After models last week suggested that between 100,000 and 240,000 people could die from the virus in the U.S., more recent projections suggested it would be close to 60,000. Trump too has been critical of what he believes are harsh projections on the spread of the virus.
Trump has been criticized for his tone at coronavirus briefings, including initial statements downplaying the severity of the virus and suggesting that cases in the U.S. would soon clear up. The president has adopted a more serious tone in recent weeks, but has been criticized for contradicting predictions from medical experts, touting untested treatments for the coronavirus, and clashing with reporters.
He has also taken heat from critics over his apparent boasts about the high television ratings the briefings have garnered, including a favorable comparison to ratings for the reality television show, The Bachelor.