Anderson Cooper: Trump Has Hijacked Coronavirus Briefings "To Lie, To Deflect, To Attack, To Bully, And Cover Up" | Video | RealClearPolitics

CNN's Cooper: Trump Hijacked Coronavirus Briefings "To Lie, To Deflect, To Attack, To Bully, And Cover Up"


CNN's Anderson Cooper criticizes President Trump's behavior at the press conference of the coronavirus task force

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. There is a lot to get to tonight.

Some potentially positive signs in New York, the epicenter of the fight to save infected people, and plenty of continued warnings about difficult days and deaths ahead. We're going to get to all of that.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing ended a short while ago, and if you tuned in to it hoping to hear from the country's top scientists, you were likely disappointed. What we mostly heard was the president.

What we saw was a hijacking -- a hijacking of the task force press conference by a president determined to rewrite the history of his early and reprehensibly irresponsible response to this virus.

What the president showed us today is what the nation's top scientists have to deal with every day, a president who now uses these briefings as a re-election platform, an opportunity to lie, to deflect, to attack, to bully, and cover up his own deadly dismissals of the virus for crucial weeks.

According to the president today, all governors are getting everything they need and testing is now and always has been great. Reporters who asked fair questions but didn't kowtow or suck up to this president were attacked and belittled.

And a special venom was reserved for a career official at HHS, who he doesn't even know, who released a non-political study with extensive interviews with doctors and hospitals across the country, describing the lack of supplies and insufficient testing, and mixed messages they've been getting from the federal government, all things that have been reported on.

I just have to point out, this is not normal. And it matters, because this is life and death. If you look at the chart, by the way, that the White House showed to show the extensiveness of the testing, you'll notice their statistics do not begin until March 5th.

February was a lost month, and people died because of that. And the numbers tested do not begin to appreciably rise on their own chart until more than halfway through the month of March. That's how late it was.

Nonetheless, this is the victory the administration is repeatedly claiming. This is what the president is clinging to, claiming that testing always has been great. It hasn't. Still not. Hospitalization rates and fatalities are expected to increase dramatically from the coronavirus.

President Trump, however, spoke again today of light at the end of the tunnel. No word of how long that tunnel may be or how dim the light currently is. There are some positive trends, but as New Jersey's governor today said, this is no time to take our foot off the gas.

The number of dead in this country passed the 10,000 mark today. The current number is 10,781. The number of cases, 364,723. Even if a peak is reached and passed in one area, the administration has said it expects rolling peaks at least through next month.

Just tonight, Los Angeles County health officials urge residents to not go grocery shopping this week if they can. One reason the president can even speak of a light at the end of the tunnel, social distancing and the stay-at-home orders that most states have implemented.

Another state today issued a stay-at-home order, South Carolina. That brings the total number of Americans under such an order -- the total percentage to more than 97 percent of the country.

Still, there are seven states that don't have an order in place. Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. We should note that Dr. Anthony Fauci said this evening that Iowa and Nebraska have instituted rules very similar to stay-at-home orders.

The other threat tonight -- the threat to our frontline defenders and hospitals who tested positive for the virus, and the medical supplies that multiple governors say they must outbid each other for.

Illinois's governor said today that what his state is getting from the Strategic National Stockpile is a, quote, "mere fraction of what we asked for". Other governors have made similar remarks.

And yet, tonight, President Trump paints a far different picture. Everything states wants, he says, is already there for the most part. Quote, "They're happy, every one of them." Life according to the president.

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