MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle interviews 'Washington Post' columnist Brian Klaas about his column comparing President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus to Russia and Chernobyl.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC ANCHOR: Let's start with the president's remarks last night. You've called this his Chernobyl. Can you explain?
BRIAN KLAAS, WASHINGTON POST: Yeah, I think since the beginning of this crisis, the important thing for Donald Trump has been protecting myths around his alternative reality which is to say that he has this completely under control. And in Chernobyl, what you had was a moment in which protecting the Soviet state's myths were the most important thing and that caused people to die and so I think what we need objective policy that is driven by evidence. It's driven by public health experts. It is driven by honesty and credibility and unfortunately what you've had for the last couple of months is Trump playing catch-up and trying to spin this as a PR problem or economic problem as opposed to public health crisis that requires urgent leadership that he's simply not delivered so far.
BRET STEPHENS, NEW YORK TIMES: I've made a similar point and it goes deeper than the way in which the president has handled this. This has been a truth optional presidency from the beginning. And when you have a president, an administration which so deliberately works to fray trust between the administration and the country, what you'll end up in is a situation where you have some sort of emergency and nobody believes what the president has to say. I wrote a column about this last June having no idea we were going to be faced with the coronavirus crisis. Just in the wake of the Chernobyl HBO series making this exact point which is that the president has so corroded trust that the moment when he needs it, it's just not there. People don't believe a word he's saying.
Trump just now: "Frankly, the testing has been going very smooth."— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) March 12, 2020
Dr. Fauci, an actual expert, on testing: "It is a failing. I mean let's admit it."
This is Trump's Chernobyl. He is fixated on protecting political myths, not protecting people. https://t.co/9AiipKk4tx