President Donald Trump has done so much to stop the spread of the coronavirus and mitigate the economic damage, but his foes in the media have attempted to craft a narrative that he’s wasted precious time in his response.
In response to the constant attacks lobbed at him by the usual suspects in the press, Trump prepared a little montage that he screened for the media at a news briefing on April 13.
The video began with clips from networks such as ABC, NBC and CBS that showed guests minimizing the risks of the virus in January and early February.
During that same period of time, Trump instituted travel restrictions on China, where the coronavirus was raging out of control, and outlined measures against the virus in his State of the Union speech, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ceremoniously tore up afterward.
The next part of the video featured audio of New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman honestly reporting on the fact that Trump’s travel restrictions were “probably effective” even though his critics, including those in the media, called his actions xenophobic at the time.
Trump looked especially pleased and nodded at members of the media in attendance while her words played for them. Apparently, Haberman didn’t like it, and took to Twitter to explain the context around her comments.
“The president is using audio of me on [Times podcast] The Daily to bash my reporting in the paper (though I’m so glad they listen to the Daily),” she wrote.
“Their use of the audio is misleading – I went on to say I said he treated that travel limitation as a Mission Accomplished moment.”
The montage also included praise from Republican governors, as well as from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy — all Democrats — who talked about the administration’s responsiveness to the needs of their respective states.
Notably, MSNBC cut away from the montage and the network tweeted that it “cut away from the president’s campaign rally-style briefing.”
“What we just saw, I want to be very clear with viewers, was a video the White House put out which suggests they are spending their precious time right now making videos that defend the president’s record and tenure, rather than provide the much-needed emergency medical information that was promised at these daily briefings,” host Ari Melber explained to his audience.
Actually, Trump was defending himself against the constant barrage of attacks from the media and simply used words from their own broadcasts against them.
To be fair, the threat of coronavirus was still emerging back then, but the media’s new narrative about Trump’s mishandling of the crisis has tried to frame the president’s reaction as too slow and not serious enough from the start.
There will be plenty of time to scrutinize Trump’s handling of the crisis when it is all over, but to try to revise history to imply that the media were ahead of the threat and the president wasn’t is just downright dishonest.