Media Outlets Exclude Crucial Context In Quote To Paint Trump As Coronavirus Villain

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Several media personalities pushed a distorted quote Monday, trying to make it appear that President Donald Trump intended to leave state governors twisting in the wind with regard to coronavirus.

The president, who spoke with a group of governors about the virus’ continued spread and repsonses to it, reportedly suggested that they may fare better if they sought out direct sales of needed equipment such as respirators and masks.

“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,” Trump told the governors over the phone, according to The New York Times. “We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Points of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.” (RELATED: Trump Says Life Would Be Easier ‘If We Had A Press That Told The Truth’ — CPAC Crowd Goes Wild)

But a number of media personalities left out the crucial second half of the president’s statement – the part where he said that the federal government would be “backing” the states and suggested that direct purchases could ultimately be less costly and less complicated.

Instead, many focused only on the first half of Trump’s comment — “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves” — and then used that to suggest that the Trump administration intended to simply sit back and watch the states fend for themselves.

Business Insider’s headline took things a little further, alleging that the president actually foisted onto governors the responsibility for obtaining needed supplies: ‘Try getting it yourselves’: Trump told governors they’re responsible for getting their own medical equipment to treat coronavirus patients.

Others went the same route:

It wasn’t long before people began to call out the discrepancy.

And according to another source familiar with the call, Trump’s suggestion to the governors was meant to be in addition to federal assistance rather than in place of it.