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Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Press Briefings Have Not Been Going Well

Donald Trump points at a reporter during a press briefing.

The White House broke from tradition and stopped giving official daily press briefings about a year ago. In recent weeks, they’ve come back, although instead of being led by the press secretary, as is customary, it’s been Donald Trump himself at the podium, along with other members of his coronavirus task force. And while it definitely feels better (in theory, at least) to have an open line of communication between the press and the White House is this distressing time, the reality of the situation has been less than great, starting with the fact that Trump can’t stop losing his temper at reporters just asking normal, serious questions.

Last week, he told PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor that her question (about his decision to disband the US Pandemic Response Team in 2018) was “nasty.”

Today, he repeated the insult when talking to NBC News’ Peter Alexander, who dared to ask Trump about his “positive spin” and whether that might be giving people false hope about an end to the coronavirus.

“What do you say to Americans who are scared though? I guess, nearly 200 dead, 14,000 who are sick, millions, as you witnessed, who are scared right now,” Alexander asked. “What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?”

Trump’s response to the total softball question? “I say that you’re a terrible reporter. That’s what I say. I think that’s a very nasty question.”

By comparison, Trump is making Mike Pence look like a competent choice to lead a health pandemic response team, which is not easy to do.

Trump also got temperamental with Yamiche Alcindor again today.

And when he’s not angrily insulting reporters, he’s just straight-up embarrassing.

Also, for some reason, Sean Spicer was present at today’s briefing. But the man who used to stand behind the podium was on the other side of things today. You know those Saturday Night Live opening monologues where they plant less-known featured cast members and writers in the audience for a fake Q&A with the host? That’s exactly what this feels like and it is so bizarre to see.

I guess this is our new normal, which feels terrible but honestly, I can’t even remember what old normal felt like at this point.

(image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.