TIME magazine columnist David French responded Sunday to The New York Times’ “very harsh” criticism of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, saying the paper has ignored Trump’s evolving response.
“A lot of us, I think, were rightly encouraged over the last few days that his tone has changed,” French told NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
The New York Times editorialized: “For some, Mr. Trump’s performance has put on display the traits Democrats and some Republicans consider so jarring: the profound need for praise, the lack of human empathy, the penchant for rewriting history, the distortion of facts, the impatience with scrutiny. For years, skeptics were critical of how he would handle a crisis facing the nation, and now they know.” (RELATED: New York Gov. Cuomo Praises Trump’s Handling Of The Coronavirus Crisis)
“Pretty harsh,” noted host Chuck Todd.
“Very harsh and very deserved early in this crisis,” French said, suggesting that Trump had made “misstatements about the threat” and had been responsible for “testing delays” that the journalist condemned as “appalling.”
“But a lot of us, I think, were rightly encouraged over the last few days that his tone has changed. You still have this pattern where people are praising him incessantly as they give these briefings which is just absurd to watch, but the tone has changed,” French said, noting that ultimately any mistakes or omissions made by the Trump administration at the beginning of the crisis will be lost to history. (RELATED: US Surgeon General Tells Media To Stop Sniping At Trump Over Coronavirus: ‘No More Bickering … Or Finger Pointing’)
“At the end of the day, his response and his leadership is going to be judged by how all of this plays out,” he added, arguing that most crises in American history have been greeted by “early bungling and early bumbling.”
“We’re going to be judged ultimately on how we respond on the full course of this.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the coronavirus task force headed by Vice President Mike Pence, said Friday that Trump’s decision — early in the crisis — to cut off travel from China was “one of the things we did right.”