Trump rips media after taking criticism over coronavirus briefings

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse Privacy, civil rights groups demand transparency from Amazon on election data breaches Facebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus MORE on Monday ripped the media's coverage of his administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, returning to a familiar theme as the White House canceled its coronavirus briefing — another signal is it changing its strategy on messaging. 

“There has never been, in the history of our Country, a more vicious or hostile Lamestream Media than there is right now, even in the midst of a National Emergency, the Invisible Enemy!” Trump tweeted Monday morning. 

Trump's attacks on the media are old news at this point, but the new tweet came amid changing circumstances at the White House. 

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Trump was ridiculed throughout the weekend over his Thursday remarks at the coronavirus briefing, where he talked about the possibility of using ultraviolet light or injecting disinfectants as possible treatments or cures for the coronavirus.

Those comments have come under enormous attention and appeared to lead to a significant change in how the White House will hold coronavirus briefings going forward.

Friday's briefing lasted just more than 20 minutes, and the White House did not hold briefings Saturday or Sunday — something that had been fairly routine.

 

A briefing was scheduled for Monday, but was abruptly canceled and later replaced with a news conference in the Rose Garden during which Trump is expected to deliver an update on testing guidance. 

Trump tweeted criticism of the media throughout the weekend, suggesting his annoyance with coverage. 

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He fired off or shared well over a dozen tweets lacing into the media, a trend that continued into Monday morning.

The outburst came after a New York Times story that reported on the president’s daily habits during the pandemic. The Times reported Trump wakes up early and consumes cable television, does not devote much preparation to the daily briefings and finishes his day by consuming press coverage of his performance.

The White House did not refute anything in the Times’s story, but Trump fixated on the report over the weekend.

“The people that know me and know the history of our Country say that I am  the hardest working President in history. I don’t know about that, but I am a hard worker and have probably gotten more done in the first 3 1/2 years than any President in history,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “The Fake News hates it!”

The White House went to great lengths to defend the president, offering quotes and data to The New York Post for a story Sunday meant to counter the Times’s reporting. Chief of Staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsCOVID-19 talks hit crucial stretch Supreme Court nominee gives no clues in GOP meeting Sunday Shows: Trump's court pick dominates MORE, who has seldom appeared in the media since taking the job, told the Post the president was working so hard that his main concern was making sure Trump had time to eat lunch.

Trump blamed the press for its scrutiny of his Thursday comments, claiming that they misrepresented that he directed the question to Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the federal government’s response to the virus. His pronouncements cut against mounting criticism over the remarks, with medical experts and manufacturers warning Americans against ingesting disinfectant. 

Trump singled out a number of major publications throughout the last few days. He decried The Washington Post as “slime balls” for analyzing how much time he spends praising his administration in the briefings.

He chastised The Wall Street Journal editorial board, claiming it inaccurately reported that he changed his position on the Georgia governor’s plan to reopen certain businesses.

Trump also claimed that Fox News, a channel that he and his aides often frequent, was being “fed Democrat talking points” and trying to be “politically correct” with its critical coverage. 

Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceMichelle Obama sympathizes with viewers 'turned off' by Trump's debate behavior It's time to kill the presidential debates — they no longer serve their purpose Presidential debate raises the specter of election violence MORE is nastier to Republicans than even Deface the Nation or Sleepy Eyes. The people who are watching,” the president wrote. 

Trump also refuted press reports about the possible ouster of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, accusing the media of a desperate effort to “create the perception of chaos & havoc in the minds of the public.”

The president put an exclamation point on his weekend media attacks with a bizarre threat in which he called for reporters to give back their “Noble Prizes” for reporting on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump, who misspelled Nobel and appeared to mistake those awards with the Pulitzer Prize, later claimed he was being sarcastic by calling them the “Noble Prizes.” 

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Advisers to the president and Republican lawmakers have for weeks urged the president to let public health officials take the lead at the briefings, worrying that Trump’s proclivity for making controversial and inaccurate statements was hurting him politically.

Trump signaled over the weekend that he may curtail his appearances at the briefings, but sought to blame the decision on the press by questioning the value of having the briefings if the media “refuses to report the truths or facts accurately.” 

“They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!” Trump tweeted on Saturday.