As Trump Warns Americans, ABC Keeps Trying for Cheap Political Points

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Monday’s press conference on the continued spread of the coronavirus crisis saw President Trump strike a tone of a seriousness that few presidents had needed to do. While the media had been suggesting Trump was only concerned about stock market numbers, he admitted that the country might be headed into a recession. Despite the President’s new warnings to the American people about the crisis, ABC’s World News Tonight was still intent on scoring cheap political points.

Senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega began the video portion of her report by chiding: “Despite widespread delays over testing and repeated mixed messages from his administration today, President Trump gave himself high marks.” That was followed up with a soundbite of Trump at the presser giving himself a 10.

But the confusing messages from the administration continued,” Vega declared as she complained about Trump promoting federalism and allowing states to seek out medical supplies on their own and not be completely reliant on the federal government. “Telling them they should, quote, ‘try getting it yourselves.’ Asked about that today, the President did not back down.

This actually exposed a fallacy in Vega’s argument. She complained about a slow federal government response and then complained about the states no longer being tied to that slowness. In the soundbite she provided, Trump even said: “If they can get them directly, it's always gonna be faster if they can get them directly if they need them, and I’ve given them authorization to order directly.”

 

 

Vega then appeared to mock how “President Trump had said the virus would just disappear” but “now, he’s marking a shift in tone.

Touting her own actions, Vega played a clip from the presser of her grilling Trump about what he’s saying to his youngest son about the crisis:

VEGA: How are you talking to your own family about this? How are you talking to your youngest son? Do you empathize with this sense of anxiety? People are really scared.

TRUMP: Yeah, no, I think they are very scared. What you can do and all you can do is -- professional, totally competent --

VEGA: But have you spoken to your family?

TRUMP: -- but I think that what we do, and I've spoken actually with my son. He says, "How bad is this?" It's bad. It's bad.

Speaking on Trump being exposed to the virus via a Brazilian official, Vega reported: “The President was tested himself on Friday. He says the test game came back negative.” The negative result wasn’t just something “he says.” The President’s personal physician put out a statement saying he was clean. On top of that, Vega noted Trump was exposed over a week ago and we know that he would likely be showing symptoms by now if he was infected.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s World News Tonight
March 16, 2020
6:47:26 p.m. Eastern

DAVID MUIR: President Trump acknowledging late today the virus is not under control and sharing his own personal experience, what his young son asked him. As many Americans fear that what they're seeing in Europe is about to play out here. Here's Cecilia Vega.

[Cuts to video]

CECILIA VEGA: Despite widespread delays over testing and repeated mixed messages from his administration today, President Trump gave himself high marks.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your response to this crisis?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I would rate it at 10. I think we've done a great job.

[Transition]

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does the buck stop with you?

TRUMP: Yeah, normally. But I think when you hear the-- this has never been done before in this country.

VEGA: But the confusing messages from the administration continued. The New York Times reporting that President Trump stunned some of the nation's governors in a conference call, telling them they should not wait for the federal government's help with respirators, ventilators, and other critical lifesaving equipment. Telling them they should, quote, “try getting it yourselves.” Asked about that today, the President did not back down.

TRUMP: If they can get them directly, it's always gonna be faster if they can get them directly if they need them, and I’ve given them authorization to order directly.

VEGA: President Trump had said the virus would just disappear. Now, he’s marking a shift in tone.

How are you talking to your own family about this? How are you talking to your youngest son? Do you empathize with this sense of anxiety? People are really scared.

TRUMP: Yeah, no, I think they are very scared. What you can do and all you can do is -- professional, totally competent--

VEGA: But have you spoken to your family?

TRUMP: -- But I think that what we do, and I've spoken actually with my son. He says, "How bad is this?" It's bad. It's bad.

VEGA: The President himself was exposed to the coronavirus a little over a week ago. The Brazilian official in this photograph testing positive. The President was tested himself on Friday. He says the test game came back negative.

TRUMP: It's not -- not something that I want to do every day. I can tell you that.

[Cuts back to live]

VEGA: And the Vice President said today he has not been tested. He says that he is in constant touch with White House doctors, David, but so far, he is not showing any symptoms.

MUIR: All right. Cecilia Vega, tonight. Thank you, Cecilia.

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