Donald Trump held a panel discussion at the White House on Thursday where business executives and GOP governors spoke about reopening the American economy amid the outbreak of the coronavirus. However, the video showed that the president was preoccupied with his phone for at least part of it.
Video from the event showed Trump scrolling through his phone and apparently firing off a tweet while a small business owner spoke about the effects of the coronavirus on her business. As the Independent reported, Trump could be clearly seen scrolling through the phone as the light from the screen lit his face and jacket. Shortly after he began looking at the phone, a tweet was published in response to questions about U.S. trade with China.
Trump has been frequently criticized for his short attention span, which has reportedly led to consternation with members of his administration. As The Inquisitr reported, intelligence officials had grown “extremely frustrated” at Trump’s lack of attention to his intelligence briefings and tendency to ignore the carefully compiled reports in favor of his own thoughts instead. Other reports indicate that these reports — which were several pages long for predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush — had to be kept very short and include pictures to hold the president’s attention.
Pictures and videos of Trump on his phone at Thursday’s event quickly spread across social media, leading to criticism of the president. Much of the criticism came from those who have accused Trump of failing to properly pay attention to the risks of the coronavirus. The president has faced sometimes sharp critiques for his handling of the coronavirus and his push to reopen the American economy despite warnings from public health experts who believe that there is not adequate testing or treatment in place to do so.
At Thursday’s conference, Trump shared his optimistic predictions for an economic recovery.
“Next year is shaping up to be one of the greatest years in the history of our country from an economic standpoint. I truly believe that,” Trump said. “I think we’re going to have a great third quarter, we’re going to have a great fourth quarter, and next year is going to be a phenomenal year.”
Trump scrolls through his phone while small business owners share their pandemic stories. pic.twitter.com/zKNJnT781E
— The Recount (@therecount) June 18, 2020
Trump has come under fire for his strong push to remove coronavirus restrictions, even as a number of states have seen spikes in cases in the past weeks. His campaign is also pushing ahead with plans to hold a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this Saturday despite the state seeing some of its largest increases in confirmed cases.