Trump has heated exchange with NBC reporter over prospects of coronavirus treatment

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump orders US troops back to active duty for coronavirus response Trump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Fighting a virus with the wrong tools MORE had a heated exchange with NBC reporter Peter Alexander during the coronavirus briefing on Friday, telling the newsman he should be ashamed of himself.

Trump was angered after Alexander asked whether he was giving Americans a false sense of hope with his optimism about a malaria drug's potential use in response to the coronavirus. 

The exchange began relatively calmly after Alexander asked Trump some questions about the drug. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump repeatedly said he was optimistic the treatment could be effective as Alexander pressed him and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about the issue.

"We'll see how it works out, Peter. I'm not saying it will, but people may be surprised," Trump said of the possibility that the drug could be effective. 

Fauci then came to the podium and said that there was not magic drug for the coronavirus but that it was fine that the president was optimistic about its potential. 

Alexander later asked Trump: "Is it possible that your impulse to put a positive spin on things may be giving Americans a false sense of hope."

Trump replied in the negative.

"No, I don't think so. It may work. It may not work. I feel good about it," he said. Trump then sought to move on to another reporter's question, but Alexander interjected to ask another question. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“What do you say to Americans watching right now who are scared?” Alexander asked, citing the number of cases and deaths of the coronavirus.

“I say that you are a terrible reporter, that's what I say,” Trump said. "I think that's a very nasty question. And I think that's a very bad signal that you're putting out to the American people. 

"The American people are looking for answers and looking for hope, and you're doing sensationalism, and the same with NBC and Concast. I don't call it Comcast, I call it Concast."

NBC is owned by Comcast.

"Let me just tell you something. That's really bad reporting. And you ought to get back to reporting rather than sensationalism. Let's see if it works. It might and it might not. I happen to feel good about it, but who knows? I've been right a lot." 

As another reporter then asked a question, Trump continued to unleash on Alexander, saying: "You ought to be ashamed of yourself."

Fauci then came to the podium again and said that it was possible the drug could be effective but that more tests would need to be taken.

"The president feels optimistic about it. What I'm saying is that it might be effective," Fauci said.