On both the Today show and her own 9:00 a.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Monday, NBC News senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle keep pushing the now-debunked claim that President Trump labeled the coronavirus a “hoax.” In reality, what Trump dismissed as a hoax were efforts by Democrats and liberal media to politicize the global health crisis.
After Today show co-host Craig Melvin asked how business leaders were responding to the disease, Ruhle replied: “Honestly, they are less focused on stock performance and they are really taking massive precautionary measures to ensure safety.” She even hyped: “On Friday alone, Bill Gates said this could be the once-in-a-lifetime virus that we feared.”
While touting the “focus on safety” by corporations, the journalist declared: “And think about the stark contrast that is from the White House, who’s been saying for days, ‘We’ve got this airtight, it’s a hoax, the flu is worse.’”
Despite that assertion being completely false, neither Melvin nor fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie bothered to offer a fact check.
On Sunday’s Today show, both co-host Willie Geist and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd also pushed the fake news that the President “called coronavirus a Democratic hoax against his presidency.”
During her MSNBC show later Monday morning, Ruhle decried:
...the President calling the virus a hoax. And what do we see out of global business leaders? Cancel – banning travel or at least limiting it, canceling events in the future, preparing to have their employees work from home, that’s gonna have a huge economic impact. Are they no longer connected, do they not believe the information they’re getting from the administration?
That question was directed to former White House communications director turned professional anti-Trump pundit Anthony Scaramucci, who replied: “Well, I mean, listen, he hurt himself. The two press conferences hurt him because it was a lot of misinformation and a lot of covering up things that didn’t need to be covered up.”
After Ruhle again claimed that Trump “signaled that this was a hoax,” Scaramucci concluded: “He did. He walked it back on Saturday....he knows saying that it was a hoax was very, very damaging to him, very damaging to markets, and to his credibility.”
On Twitter over the weekend, Ruhle incredibly reacted to a picture of Vice President Mike Pence meeting with the coronavirus task force in the White House Situation Room with ultra-woke concerns over gender diversity: “Where are the women?”
Where are the women? https://t.co/YSMGOmigku— Stephanie Ruhle (@SRuhle) March 1, 2020
In the height of hypocrisy, on Friday, Ruhle had the audacity to accuse “conservative media” like Fox News and talk radio of trying to “politicize” coronavirus coverage. It’s time reporters like her take a look in the mirror.
Here is a transcript of Ruhle on the March 2 Today show:
7:12 AM ET
CRAIG MELVIN: Here with more on the outbreak’s impact, including that tailspin on Wall Street, NBC’s senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle is also with us this morning. And I know you spent much of the weekend talking to leaders in business and finance after last week’s huge losses, worst week since 2008. What are they telling you now? How are they prepared to move going forward this week?
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Wall Street Worries; Recession Fears Grow Amid Coronavirus Crisis]
STEPHANIE RUHLE: Honestly, they are less focused on stock performance and they are really taking massive precautionary measures to ensure safety. On Friday alone, Bill Gates said this could be the once-in-a-lifetime virus that we feared. Let’s hope that it’s not, but until we know, we need to operate as such. And you are seeing companies across the globe limit travel, cancel travel, cancel meetings, events.
If you run a global business, I spoke to a technology CEO with 30,000 employees who reminded me we’ve got 5% of our business in Japan. Japan has no school until the end of March. They’ve already got lots of employees working from home or not really working because they’ve now got to take care of their kids. From a business perspective, they’re not thinking about what this is going to do to hurt their stock. They’ve got to focus on safety. And think about the stark contrast that is from the White House, who’s been saying for days, “We’ve got this airtight, it’s a hoax, the flu is worse.” This is the first time you see a real difference.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let’s talk about that, because the President has talked about a rate cut, having the Federal Reserve cut rates, which as we know in many other situations can kind of goose and revive the economy. Is that an appropriate measure in a situation like this?
RUHLE: I spoke to an investment banking chief that said it just doesn’t make sense at this time. The President’s priority might be, “I got to get that market moving again,” because he has election pressures. They don’t. When you cut rates, the idea is let’s lower rates, we can get businesses investing and people out there spending and borrowing. That flies in the face of what we’re telling people to do with this virus.
GUTHRIE: From a public health perspective.
RUHLE: Stay home, cancel events. And there’s people to think about in terms of economics. If you cancel a major event or you move employees to work remotely, you have insurance to cover that, you’ve got budgets. Imagine if you’re part of the gig economy, if you’re a taxi driver, a waiter, a dog walker, a babysitter, you are going to see a serious impact. And those are people who also might not have health care.
MELVIN: Steph Ruhle, thank you.
GUTHRIE: Huge ripple effect, we’re just beginning to see it, for sure. Thank you.