Trump, Acosta tangle after question about 'happy talk' coronavirus briefings

CNN's Jim AcostaJames (Jim) AcostaRed flags fly high, but Trump ignores them Hillicon Valley: Justice Department announces superseding indictment against WikiLeaks' Assange | Facebook ad boycott gains momentum | FBI sees spike in coronavirus-related cyber threats | Boston city government bans facial recognition technology Twitter permanently suspends account behind doctored video shared by Trump MORE tussled with President TrumpDonald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE after the network's reporter questioned whether the White House daily coronavirus task force briefings had become "happy talk" sessions designed to paint a "rosy picture" of what's happening amid the pandemic.

“We hear from a lot of people who see these briefings as sort of ‘happy talk’ briefings,” Acosta said when called upon to ask a question by Trump at the briefing on Friday. “And you and some of the officials paint a rosy picture of what is happening around the country. If you look at some of these questions, do we have enough masks? 'No.' Do we have enough tests? 'No.' Do we have enough PPE? 'No'.”

Trump denied administration officials had answered 'no' to these questions, saying the administration had enough supplies and resources, before addressing Acosta's comment about the tenor of the briefings. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"These people have done an incredible job," Trump said, pointing to others who were on the stage. "This is not happy talk. Maybe it's happy talk for you. It's not happy talk for me. We are talking about death."

"Thousands of people have died," he added. "These are the saddest news conferences that I've ever had. I don't like doing them. You know why? Because I'm talking about death."

"That's not a fair question," Trump said toward the end of the exchange. "When you ask a question like that it's very insulting to a lot of great people."

The president has come under criticism that he's spreading misinformation during his daily coronavirus briefings, which he has conducted daily since last month along with Vice President Pence and other members of the task force.

The U.S. death toll currently stands at 17,947, according to a New York Times tracker, with cases exceeding 483,000.