If President Donald Trump was on the path toward getting the American people to believe he was changing his tone earlier this week on the issue of his handling the coronavirus, he may have undone that goodwill work on Friday.
Some quick background: On Thursday, Trump had promoted a possible treatment for coronavirus, citing an anti-malarial drug as a means to help those who become afflicted with the disease. Trump claimed, however, that the FDA had approved the drug for use with coronavirus patients — yet the FDA hasn’t yet done any tests to verify it would be beneficial to carry out.
On Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tried to backtrack a little on those claims, calling Trump’s hopes “anecdotal.”
“You really can’t make any definitive statement about it” at this time, Fauci said.
Trump was then asked by NBC News reporter Peter Alexander about whether his “positive spin” on the drug as a treatment option was giving Americans “a false sense of hope.”
Trump rejected that notion. “No, I don’t think so. It may work, it may not work,” he said. “I feel good about. That’s all it is, it’s a feeling.”
NBC's @PeterAlexander asks Trump what he'd say to Americans who are frightened.
Trump goes on rant against Alexander, says he asked a "nasty question," calls him a "terrible reporter" and attacks NBC and Comcast. pic.twitter.com/vZAk3M4mqR
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) March 20, 2020
Alexander followed up with his question, asking Trump what his message might be to millions of Americans “who are scared right now?”
An indignant Trump blasted the reporter for asking such a question.
“I say that you’re a terrible reporter. That’s what I say. I think that’s a very nasty question,” Trump said.
He went on, accusing Alexander of promoting “sensationalism.”
It is not unusual for presidents to speak out and give messages of hope or respond to questions about what they might say to the American people in a time of crisis.
Featured image credit: The White House/Wikimedia