When we heard this weekend that President Donald Trump was going to put an end to the daily Coronavirus Press Briefings, we can’t say we were surprised. We know that Trump gets a little bit of enjoyment from sparring with the idiots in the White House Press Corps, but enough is enough. When they snatched his (admittedly…imperfect) musings about UV disinfectant light and ran a bajillion stories about the president’s unfitness for office, we knew the tenuous threads of White House journalism were coming completely unraveled. There wasn’t much fabric holding it together as it was.
But then Trump had a change on heart on Monday, and he graciously appeared before the press again. Unfortunately, the media managed to use this opportunity not to reform their ways and strive to bring coherent, useful information to the American people but rather to continue their ongoing war on Trump and his supporters. And no one threw a bigger bomb than New York Mag’s Olivia Nuzzi, who might have asked the scummiest question of the press briefings thus far.
And think about the ground THAT covers.
“If an American president loses more Americans over the course of six weeks than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War, does he deserve to be re-elected?” Nuzzi asked.
Come on. What kind of a question is that? What kind of answer do you expect? What sort of relevant information might a reader of New York Magazine glean from Trump’s answer? This isn’t journalism; this is grandstanding of the sort that would make Jim Acosta blush.
To his extraordinary credit, Trump actually found a dignified way to answer Nuzzi.
“Yes we’ve lost a lot of people, but if you look at what original projections were — 2.2 million — we’re probably heading to 60,000, 70,000 — far too many — one person is too many for this,” Trump replied. “I think we’ve made a lot of really good decisions. The big decision was closing the border or doing the ban.”
Trump said that Vice President Mike Pence and the rest of the Coronavirus Task Force had “done a fantastic job,” and he noted that the U.S. was leading the world when it came to testing citizens for the virus.
And ultimately, in a moment of sincerity, Trump acknowledged that the death of even “one person is too many.”
Trump is not always good about hiding his disdain for the clowns that sit in the press room, so we were astounded that he responded to Nuzzi’s DNC-written question as well as he did. It was certainly a better answer than the question deserved.
On Twitter, Nuzzi defended her question: “It wasn’t a gotcha question, it wasn’t designed to provoke, and I appreciate the fact that Trump took it seriously.”
If you believe that, you’ve got bigger problems than we can help you with.