President Donald Trump scolded CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta during Friday’s Coronavirus Task Force briefing, saying that his question was unfair.
Following the usual daily update from the gathered experts, Acosta appeared to accuse Trump of trying to use the briefings to put too positive a spin on the current situation.
“Mr. President, we hear from a lot of people who see these briefings as happy talk briefings,” Acosta began.
“No happy talk today,” Trump replied.
“So many officials paint a rosy picture about what is happening around the country and you look at some of these questions, do we have enough masks? No. Do we have enough tests? No. Do we have enough PPE? No.” (RELATED: ‘Nasty, Snarky Question’: Trump Gives CNN’s Jim Acosta An Earful During Coronavirus Briefing)
“Why would you say no?” Trump asked. “I think the answer is yes. I think the answer is yes. Who said no to that? No, no, you are saying no. But who was saying no?”
Acosta protested, saying, “We hear from doctors —”
“You did not say that,” Trump shot back. “You said, do we have enough masks, tests? Yes. Plus we’re developing a new test. Do we have enough ventilators? Yes. Do we have enough hospital beds? Yes. We built 20,000 hospital beds.”
Acosta pushed back again. “I mean, you watch the coverage,” he said.
“A lot of it is fake news,” Trump shrugged, saying that CNN was only airing the people who continued to say that no one had enough of the equipment they needed. “On your air they always say that, otherwise you’re not going to put them on,” he added.
Trump went on to say that there were enough ventilators for everyone who needed them, and even surpluses in some areas.
But then the president turned back to Acosta’s original comment, adding, “This is not happy talk. Maybe it is happy talk for you. It is not happy talk for me. We are talking about death … thousands of people have died. There is nothing happy about it, Jim. This is sad talk. These are the saddest — these are the saddest news conferences I have ever had. I don’t like doing them. You know why? Because I’m talking about death.”
“We have ventilators, we have equipment, we have beds. How about beds? Governor Cuomo just told me a little while ago he has got plenty of beds. In fact, they’re having a hard time filling Javits center. We built them 2,900 beds,” Trump continued. “So, that’s not a fair question. Jim, Jim, Jim — no, no, no. Excuse me. We have masks, we have everything. We were trying to get ready for the surge.”
Trump went on to credit the military, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the incredible job they had done in preparing for a possible surge.
“You should not be asking that kind of a question,” Trump concluded, adding, “They have done a fantastic job and when you ask a question like that it is very insulting to a lot of great people.”