Trump is trying to rewrite the narrative of his coronavirus response by only showing flattering news coverage of him at the White House press conference
- At the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Sunday, President Donald Trump replayed clips of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praising the federal government's response to the coronavirus crisis, and read aloud a flattering Wall Street Journal column about him.
- There was no mention of the scathing criticism that Cuomo has also leveled at Trump's coronavirus responses – prompting critics to accuse Trump of excluding criticisms against him and rewriting his own narrative.
- Trump told reporters that he played the clips of Cuomo to celebrate the bipartisan unity in the face of the crisis.
- When a CNN reporter asked whether Trump should be basking in praise on the day the US death toll surpassed 40,000, the president said: "You're fake news ... You don't have the brains you were born with."
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President Donald Trump used Sunday's White House coronavirus task force briefing to replay clips of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praising the federal government's coronavirus response, but excluded the scathing criticism Cuomo has also leveled against him.
During Sunday's briefing the lights were dimmed, and screens showed a clip of Cuomo saying: "What the federal government did, working with states ... was a phenomenal accomplishment."
A second clip showed Cuomo saying: "These were just extraordinary efforts and acts of mobilization, and the federal government stepped up and was a great partner, and I'm the first to say it. We needed help and they were there."
Trump told reporters that he played the clips to celebrate the bipartisan unity showed in response to the crisis.
"This is not about Democrats, Republicans," he added. "This is about a thing that hit our country, the likes of which has never happened to us before."
—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 19, 2020
Later in the briefing, Trump also read out praise from a Wall Street Journal column.
A CNN reporter challenged him, asking whether on the day the US death toll surpassed 40,000 it was the right time to be basking in praise.
Trump responded with insults. "You're CNN, you're fake news ... You don't have the brains you were born with," the president said.
—Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) April 19, 2020
Cuomo is one of Trump's worst critics, and the president knows it
The bid to portray Cuomo as a fan of the president's efforts to combat the crisis has baffled many people. New York is the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak and Cuomo is one of Trump's most trenchant critics.
Cuomo's press conferences have rivaled Trump's for the news coverage they generate, and in them Cuomo has laid bare what he alleges are the inadequacies in the federal government's response — notably in the failure to secure desperately-needed equipment for frontline medics, and to roll out a comprehensive testing program.
Trump, meanwhile, has claimed that extra hospital bed space that Cuomo said was required never actually got used, and that Cuomo should take the fall for problems in New York's response.
The two exchanged open barbs on Friday, with Trump tweeting: "Governor Cuomo should spend more time 'doing' and less time 'complaining'. Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking!"
Cuomo hit back hours later at his state briefing, saying of Trump: "If he's sitting home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work."
He said that in calculating the amount of hospital space required, New York had relied on federal government figures, and in response to Trump's demand for gratitude, said: "What am I supposed to do, send a bouquet of flowers?"
Coronavirus briefings or campaign rallies?
The White House coronavirus task force briefings started out as sober assessments of the health crisis facing America delivered by top public health officials, but in recent weeks Trump has been accused of hijacking the briefings and transforming them into campaign rallies.
During the briefings the president has taunted reporters, blamed Democrats for problems in tackling the virus, and highlighted praise of his administration's response.
The Trump administration claims that the president was doing so in an effort to hit back at unfair and biased coverage of his response to the crisis.
The White House has not responded to Business Insider's request for comment on the apparent exclusion of criticism at Sunday's task force briefings.
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