Trump NUKES Acosta for ‘Nasty, Snarky Question’ Looking Back, Not Forward on Virus

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On Monday, CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta stepped back in the ring for Monday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force daily briefing and, as usual, he made a fool out of himself.

Fortunately for our collective sanity, the ordeal lasted less than two minutes and ended with President Trump torching Fake News Jim for his “nasty, snarky question” about the President’s past statements at what was then a disturbing but evolving pandemic.

 

 

Having recognized he was there, Trump called on him around 6:01 p.m. Eastern: “Go ahead, let’s give it a shot.”

Acosta responded with this doozy, which felt like a greatest (or worst?) hits of past quotes that CNN has wasted airtime harping on as thousands of Americans are perishing:

Sir, what do you say to Americans who are upset with you over the way you downplayed this crisis over the last couple of months? “We have it very much under control in this country,” “the coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.” “It's going to disappear.” “It's like a miracle, it will disappear.” March 4th: “We have a very small number of people in this country infected.” March 10th: “We are doing a great job with it. It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” What do you say to Americans who believe that you got this wrong?

The President didn’t initially fire Acosta into the sun. Instead, he chose to answer the question, noting that he still does believe the coronavirus will go away, that Americans should “stay calm,” and that everyone’s “doing a great job.”

“[W]e're going to have a great victory and it's people like you and CNN that say things like that, that it's why people just don't want to listen to CNN anymore. You could ask a normal question,” Trump added.

Taking a jab at the wider notion of intentionally causing panic (e.g. much of CNN’s coverage), the President quipped that, if he wanted to, he “could cause panic much better than even you” that’d make the CNN carnivalbarker “look like a minor league player.”

Trump made clear that he wouldn’t because he wanted Americans to “be calm and strong and fight….and it is incredible the job that all of these people are doing, putting them all together, the job that they're doing.”

It was there and before moving onto Real Clear Politics White House correspondent Philip Wegmann (who’s a real reporter) that Trump dropped the hammer:

I’m very proud. It’s almost a miracle and it is --- the way it's all come together and instead of asking a nasty, snarky question like that, you should ask a real question and other than that, I'm going to go to somebody else.

After some time away and allowing colleagues like Kaitlin Collins, Jeremy Diamond, and Kristen Holmes to question Trump and the task force, Acosta must have decided that he'd see if he could wrestle away some of the attention recently held by PBS NewsHour correspondent MSNBC contributor Yamiche Alcindor. If that was his best shot, one could only reply with….good job?

Though not as fiery as Sunday’s briefing, Alcindor’s question about testing set the President off (click “expand”):

ALCINDOR: Mr. President, you said several times that the United States has ramped up testing, but the United States is still not testing per capita as many resid --- as many people as other countries like South Korea. Why is that, and when do you think that number will be on par with other countries and Dr. Birx ---

TRUMP: It's very much on par. Per capita, we have areas of the country that’s very wide. I know South Korea better than anybody. It's very tight. You know how many people are in Seoul? Do you know how big the city of Seoul is? [ALCINDOR SHOUTING] 38 million people. That's bigger than anything we have. All tightly wound together. We have vast farmlands, we have vast areas where they don't have much of a problem and in some cases, they have no problem whatsoever. We have done more tests. What I --- I didn't talk about per capita. We have done more tests by far than any country in the world by far….So rather than asking a question like that, you should congratulate the people that have done this testing[.]

(….)

I spoke to a number of different testing companies today and the job that they've done and the job that they are doing is incredible…[T]hey are ramping it up exponentially. It’s up, up, up, and you should be saying congratulations instead of asking a really snarky question because I know exactly what you mean by that. [INAUDIBLE ALCINDOR SHOUTING] You should be saying congratulations to the men and women who have done this job, who have inherited a broken testing system and who have made it great and if you don't say it, I'll say it. I want to congratulate all of the people. You have done a fantastic job.

To see the relevant transcript from March 30’s briefing, click “expand.”

White House Coronavirus Task Force Briefing
March 30, 2020
6:01 p.m. Eastern

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Go ahead, let’s give it a shot.

JIM ACOSTA: Sir, what do you say to Americans who are upset with you over the way you downplayed this crisis over the last couple of months? “We have it very much under control in this country,” “the coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.” “It's going to disappear.” “It's like a miracle, it will disappear.” March 4th: “We have a very small number of people in this country infected.” March 10th: “We are doing a great job with it. It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”

TRUMP: Well, I’m still saying will go away.

ACOSTA: What do you say to Americans who believe that you got this wrong?

TRUMP: And I do want them to stay calm, and we are doing a great job. If you look at those individual statements, they're all true. Stay calm, it will go away. You know it is going away and it will go away and we're going to have a great victory and it's people like you and CNN that say things like that, that it's why people just don't want to listen to CNN anymore. You could ask a normal question. The statements I made are --- I want to keep the country calm, I don’t want panic in the country. I could cause panic much better than even you. I do much ---- I could make you look like a minor league player, but you know what? I don't want to do that. I want to have our country be calm and strong and fight and win and it will go away and it is incredible the job that all of these people are doing, putting them all together, the job that they're doing. I am very proud of the job they're doing, that Mike Pence is doing, that the task force has done, that Honeywell and Proctor & Gamble and Mike all of these people have done. I’m very proud. It’s almost a miracle and it is --- the way it's all come together and instead of asking a nasty, snarky question like that, you should ask a real question and other than that, I'm going to go to somebody else.

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