The daily press briefings have been stifling other news stories as they’re so dense with Trump’s typical actions – attacks on the press, false information, and demands for praise.
I’m going to spin out press briefing information into separate posts so as not to overrun the normal news I post. You will notice a great many links to Daniel Dale and Aaron Rupar in these posts. Dale is likely the most active Trump factchecker out there and Rupar is incredibly fast at posting clips from the press briefings. You should follow both if you are a Twitter user. (Dale wrote an excellent fact check of this entire press conference.)
- The president is now saying 60,000 deaths from Covid-19 is a successful benchmark. In February, the president said there were only 15 cases which would be soon going down to zero.
- In a new normal, the president is playing video clips of praise he’s received from governors during press briefings, while editing out criticisms.
- Trump has also begun to use the fact that some needed medical supplies come from overseas to bash trade itself. Of note, the president has never understood how trade works and has said both that lowering trade deficits decreases the national debt and that lowering trade deficits results in more money for the federal government. Neither of these is true, which a first-year economics student could tell you.
- The president said several governors have gone too far in restrictions. He said he did not want to mention names then immediately mentioned Virginia and later Michigan. For Virginia, he’s referring to a new background check law which is completely unrelated to the virus. His Michigan answer was in response to being asked about opening up the economy in states that do not mean his own criteria to do so.
- Trump berated Weijia Jiang for asking why he was continuing to hold rallies during February and downplaying the threat of the virus. The president could only provide minimal travel restrictions on China and that the Democrats had one debate in February where the virus was not mentioned. He said Jiang was not grateful enough. He commonly demands praise from the press.
- He attacked another reporter for saying Cuomo had praised a lot of what he had done instead of saying “we did a phenomenal job.”
- Jeremy Diamond asked Trump about the choice to play clips praising himself after 40,000 Americans died. Trump responded by saying CNN is fake news and that Diamond “[doesn’t] have the brains you were born with.” As with Jiang, the president demands that Diamond offer praise instead of questions. The president was angered that Diamond had an accurate death count and corrected him. He later attacked Diamond for asking about his public comments praising China’s response to the virus, which he now uses as an excuse to attack the WHO.
- Asked about potential pardons the president complains that Roger Stone was treated unfairly and that the black ledger detailing illegal payments to Paul Manafort was a fraud. This is a lie. The FBI, Manafort’s prosecutors, and Manafort himself have all confirmed the payments from the ledger. Trump goes on to call the FBI human scum and a disgrace over their convictions of members of his campaign. He said they’re crooked, bad, and dangerous. Six members of Trump’s campaign and/or administration have been convicted of felonies since he took office.
- The president admitted that Mitt Romney is not on the Covid-19 task force because the president harbors a grudge against him over Romney’s impeachment vote.
- The president said if Biden is elected, Iran, Mexico, Japan, and China will own the United States and there won’t be a country left.
- The president brushed off a question about governors asking for a national testing strategy. Throughout this, Trump has stressed that testing is the responsibility of the individual states while resisting any move to coordinate a national testing policy.
- The president continues to say no one could have predicted the pandemic despite a plethora of evidence that the government had detailed warnings and plans on how to deal with a pandemic that the Trump administration ignored.
- The president keeps blaming Obama for the initial Covid-19 tests not working well. The virus did not exist before 2019. The Obama administration did not develop any tests for a virus that did not exist.