During a press briefing on the coronavirus on Friday, Donald Trump verbally attacked NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander. Trump lost his cool after Alexander asked him what he would say to Americans who are frightened by the coronavirus outbreak,
“What do you say to Americans that are scared?” Alexander asked Trump.
“I’d say you are a terrible reporter,” Trump lashed out triggered by a simple question. “I think that’s a very nasty question, and I think that’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.” Trump then went on to attack NBC as well as its parent company Comcast.
.@PeterAlexander: What do you say to Americans, who are watching you right now, who are scared?"
President Trump: "I say that you're a terrible reporter. That's what I say. I think it's a very nasty question. And I think it's a very bad signal that you're putting out…" pic.twitter.com/IHzMs9hKtj
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 20, 2020
Trump moved on without answering Alexander’s question and took another question from a different journalist, which just happened to be his close ally and former press secretary Sean Spicer, who know hosts a show for Newsmax.
Moments later other reporters asked Trump why he was attacking another journalist during a global health crisis.
“I think Peter is not a good journalist when it comes to fairness,” Trump said after being pressed by Kaitlan Collins of CNN.
Alexander also asked Trump if he felt he was giving people “false hope” because of his tendency to put a “positive spin” on things. Trump had earlier stated that a drug already available on the market was useable to treat the coronavirus. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that there was “no magic drug,” but Trump disagreed with him and stated “let’s see if it works. It might and it might not.”
After the briefing, Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC asked Alexander about the exchange.
“In TV terms, we call this a softball,” he said. “I was trying to provide the president an opportunity to reassure the millions of Americans, members of my own family and my neighbors and my community and plenty of people sitting at home, this was his opportunity to do that, to provide a positive or uplifting message.”
Alexander added, “I think it does sort of reveal a frustration, perhaps the anxiety of his political prospects, about a situation that is hard to keep in control as we witnessed it continue to spiral at this time.”