On Thursday during a press conference on the coronavirus, Donald Trump stated that he had noticed that the press has been “much nicer” to him now that only a handful of reporters were attending White House events because of social distancing.
He couldn’t let a compliment hang out there so he quickly added that some of the reporters in attendance were “still sitting to close” to each other. the comment was pretty condescending being that Trump hasn’t figured out the whole social distancing thing and is still shaking hands.
Trump made the comments during a coronavirus task force White House briefing. Soon after making the comments reporters pressed Trump about his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump quickly became angry and confrontational.
“You’re actually sitting too close,” Trump stated.
He then when on to state that “really, we should probably get rid of about 75, 80 percent of you. I’ll have just two or three of you that I like in this room. I think that’s a great way of doing it.”
“You’re actually much too close,” he said pointing to one reporter. “You should move. You should move immediately.”
The seating for the briefing was set up the same as other events that were held earlier in the week.
On Sunday, news outlets were notified by the White House Correspondents’ Association that it was making changes to the seating chart in the briefing room to meet guidelines set for social distancing. That was laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We are reducing the number of seats available in the White House briefing room to accommodate social distancing guidelines as best as practicable,” the press group said in a memo. “We understand these restrictions are deeply disruptive to our members and their ability to do their jobs. But we are forced to take these steps to do our part to ensure that there is a healthy pool available to cover the president and inform the public during this critical time.”
Social distancing as described by the CDC “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance, approximately 6 feet or 2 meters, from others when possible.”
Also, during the press briefing, Trump accused journalists of “siding with China” for criticizing him for using the term “Chinese virus.”
“The press is more than dishonest. They are siding with China,” Trump argued. “If we had an honest media in this country, our country would be an even greater place.”
Since taking office Trump has repeatedly attacked the media referring to it as “fake news.”