Meghan McCain and former Republican New Jersey Mayor Chris Christie took turns Tuesday attacking media and President Donald Trump for continuing to engage in “hand-to-hand combat” during briefings.
McCain weighed in on ABC’s “The View,” beginning by calling out the media’s intentionally provocative questions. (RELATED: ‘Believe Me, I’m Aware’: Chris Christie Spars With Sunny Hostin Over Trump’s Response To Coronavirus)
Responding to Monday’s coronavirus task force briefing, during which Trump had sparred with CBS’s Paula Reid, McCain said that she was especially offended by the question Reid asked of Dr. Anthony Fauci, implying that Trump was pulling his strings.
“This acrimonious relationship between the press and the president has obviously reached a fever pitch yesterday [Monday] and I for one am sick of the kabuki theatre where a journalist asked an incendiary question and the president reacts in an incendiary way,” McCain began. “I was particularly insulted with the question of Dr. Fauci. He’s the only one holding this country together and giving both sides good faith on what’s going forward.”
“He actually started the tone of the press conference. He was very angry with the implication that he was not somehow in control of what he was saying, not in control of what he was doing. I took it as an implication that he was sort of a puppet with the administration,” McCain continued. “This is a man with a long, storied career who has helped this country through such things as the AIDS epidemic and the ebola epidemic. He deserves a lot more respect than he got yesterday.”
McCain went on to add that, while she would never apologize for Trump’s behavior, she felt that it was necessary to speak up about the way the press was behaving.
Christie joined the show a short time later and said that he was in complete agreement with McCain.
McCain asked Christie for his thoughts on Monday’s “combative” press conference, and the former governor let the media and Trump have it.
“I think the press has been in a death spiral that the president participates in which hurts both of them. I think that the questions are often combative and ‘gotcha.’ His responses, I think at times, are beneath what he should be doing,” said Christie. “And I’ve said to him any number of times that his press briefings should be much shorter. He should be there for 10 or 15 minutes off the top to deliver the big headlines, answer a few questions, and then leave the rest of it to Vice President Pence and to the folks on his team, the experts on his team.”
Christie went on to say that both Trump and the media were contributing to the problem because neither was willing to give the other any room.
“I don’t think it helps the president in the long run to be in a hand-to-hand combat with any member of the media,” the former governor and prosecutor said. “And I think also the media has some measure of responsibility as well for some of the things that they do.”