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Brianna Keilar Fillets Donald Trump Over Coronavirus Failures: ‘A President Is Supposed to Come in and Show Leadership’

After President Donald Trump bemoaned CNN’s coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and then referred to the media as “dumb bastards” at a campaign rally in Prescott, Arizona, anchor Brianna Keilar delivered an emotionally charged clapback on Tuesday’s edition of Newsroom.

Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The victims matter.

“There are 220,417 reasons to talk about coronavirus,” said Keilar. “There are nearly 60,000 cases per day in the U.S. and rising. The person whose response failed on most objective measures is not fixing his government’s approach to the crisis. Instead, he is suggesting we just ignore it. The president doesn’t even regularly acknowledge the huge loss of life that we’ve experienced here in the last nine months. In fact, he has questioned whether that horrifying number is accurate – 220,000 dead.”

Keilar shared the stories of a few of the families that were destroyed because of Trump’s deadly indifference.

“We cover COVID for them and the ones they leave behind, forced to say goodbye through a phone screen,” Keilar said. She showed a clip of CNN anchor Erin Burnett interviewing a woman named Maura Lewinger, who lost her husband to the coronavirus in August.

“We cover COVID for those who never got the chance to say goodbye,” Keilar said, before cutting to footage of another widow named Nicole Buchanan, who along with her daughter, Skye, were interviewed by CNN in April after their husband and father Conrad succumbed suddenly to the virus in March. He was 38.

“We cover COVID for the children who buried their mother, and then two weeks later, their father,” Keilar continued. Isaiah Garcia lost both parents to COVID-19 in July.

“We cover COVID for the doctors, the nurses, the hospital workers, the janitors, forced to see the suffering that we don’t see,” Keilar continued as recordings of a doctor and a survivor – whose lives have been forever altered by the pandemic and who begged people to take the crisis seriously – were shown. “The ones lucky to survive are still dealing with the impact of the virus months later. Others, are trying to stay alive.”

Keilar alluded to how the pandemic has devastated communities of color and forced small businesses to shutter across the country.

“We cover COVID for the ones who have not only lost multiple family members to this virus, but their livelihoods too,” Keilar added.

“We cover COVID for the millions who are relying on overwhelmed foodbanks for their next meals. We cover COVID for the ones struggling to keep a roof over their heads, forced to leave everything they own behind,” said Keilar, juxtaposed to footage of Israel Rodriguez and his family being evicted from their Houston, Texas apartment. The Rodriguez’s are but one example of what is quickly escalating into another nationwide tragedy – people getting kicked out of their homes during a pandemic.

“We cover COVID for the ones who fear they may be next,” Keilar said.

Footage rolled of an elderly woman being evicted from her apartment – with nowhere to go.

“We cover COVID for the students who can’t go to school safely, and for the parents who are juggling their children and their jobs,” Keilar said.

CNN covers COVID, Keilar concluded, because Trump has failed:

We cover COVID because at least 14 states report record hospitalizations in the last week – because we just saw the highest number of cases on a Monday since the peak in July – because experts say the next few weeks are going to be the darkest yet. And we are not ’rounding the turn,’ as the president claims. We cover it because the task force in charge of the response doesn’t brief the public anymore. The president says, ‘everyone’s tired of the virus.’ Yeah, we are. But that’s where a president is supposed to come in and show leadership that can help Americans push through when they’re already spent. Instead, he’s talked more in the past 24 hours about Anthony Fauci’s pitching arm than any of the victims that you just saw there, or the ones who are suffering and struggling. This is why we cover COVID. And until these numbers on your screen slow down, we’re not going to stop.

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