Trump to reporters at coronavirus briefing: 'You're all sitting too close to each other'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE on Thursday quipped that the press has been "much nicer" to him now that fewer reporters are attending daily briefings due to social distancing, while adding that he thought some were still "sitting too close."

The remarks came during a briefing with the White House coronavirus task force in which Trump was more confrontational than in previous appearances, as reporters pressed him on his administration's handling of the pandemic.

"You're actually sitting too close," Trump said at one point. "Really, we should probably get rid of about 75, 80 percent of you. I'll have just two or three of you that I like in this room. I think that's a great way of doing it."


"You're actually much too close," he added before pointing at one reporter. "You should move. You should move immediately."

The seating at Thursday's briefing was similar to others held earlier this week.

The White House Correspondents' Association informed news outlets on Sunday that it was making changes to the seating chart in the briefing room to adhere to social distancing guidelines recently set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"We are reducing the number of seats available in the White House briefing room to accommodate social distancing guidelines as best as practicable," the press group said in a memo. "We understand these restrictions are deeply disruptive to our members and their ability to do their jobs. But we are forced to take these steps to do our part to ensure that there is a healthy pool available to cover the president and inform the public during this critical time."

The CDC describes social distancing as "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance, approximately 6 feet or 2 meters, from others when possible."

At another point in the press conference, Trump accused the press of "siding with China" for covering criticism of his referral to the coronavirus as the "Chinese virus."

"The press is more than dishonest. They are siding with China," he argued. "If we had an honest media in this country, our country would be an even greater place."

The president has often accused news outlets of being biased against him and often refers to the media as "fake news" and "enemy of the people" at rallies and on Twitter.