President Trump issued a rebuke to a NBC News reporter after he asked him about people “who are scared” about the coronavirus pandemic.
“I say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I say,” the President told the reporter, NBC News’s Peter Alexander, at Friday’s White House coronavirus press briefing. “I think that’s a very nasty question, and I think it is a very bad signal that you are putting out to the American people.”
“The American people are looking for answers, and they’re looking for hope, and you’re doing sensationalism, the same with NBC and ‘Con-cast.’ I don’t call it Comcast, I call it ‘Con-cast,’ for whom you work,” he said.
“Let me say something,” the president continued. “That’s really bad reporting. And you ought to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism. Let’s see if it works. It might and it might not. I happen to feel good about it, but who knows? I have been right a lot. Let’s see what happens.”
Later during the briefing, Trump was asked if his response to Alexander was “appropriate,” given the pandemic.
“There is a lot of really great news and great journalism, and there is a lot of fake news out there. I hear it all and I see it all. I understand it all because I am in the midst of it. When somebody writes a story or does a story on television and I know it is false. I know it is fake, and when they say they have ’15 sources have said,’ I know there are no sources. They’re just making it up,” Trump said.
Later in the briefing, Alexander asked VP Mike Pence the same question to which he answered, “I would say, do not be afraid, be vigilant.”
President Trump’s clash with reporters stands in contrast his more cordial treatment of the press in briefings in which he participated all week. He had spent these past few days focusing on the virus and less on his jostling with media, although that started to change on Thursday.
This wasn’t the first time President Trump has ridiculed Alexander.
The president’s blow-up came as more than 14,000 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. It has resulted in at least 187 deaths, according to CBS News, while more than 120 people have recovered.