On Friday, Jim Acosta, once again, tried making himself the news
With the grave coronavirus pandemic worsening this week, the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefings have been far more sobering and less combative than past episodes.
Acosta inquired at 6:03 p.m. Eastern about the whereabouts of the NIH’s Dr. Tony Fauci, likely seeking to follow up on a CNN report flashing as a chyron during the briefing that Fauci had been purposefully sidelined from appearing.
Trump clearly sensed what Acosta was up to and promptly drove a stake through the heart of the manufactured tension, lamenting that “every time you ask a question,” reporters think there’s “a problem.” In reality, Trump replied that there’s “no problem” and “we’re doing great together.”
Fake News Jim gave up and asked if he could change subjects, which Trump quipped: “We’re covering a different subject? Okay, go ahead, Jim. Try another one.”
Acosta used his second chance to further ram down our throats the media-fed notion that the Trump administration’s failures to deal with the pandemic date back at least a year. Why? Because HHS Secretary Alex Azar said he (and many others) have seen the threat of a “pandemic flu” as something that “keeps you most up at night.”
“Your own Health and Human Services secretary was aware that this had potential of being a very big problem around the world, a pandemic of this nature. Who dropped the ball?” Acosta wondered.
Get work, Jim. Trying to place blame on the U.S. when the blame should belong to China (and only China).
Both Azar and Trump dispatched with Acosta’s nonsense with Azar making the astute point that this coronavirus has been entirely new to mankind and has thus presented challenges compared to sister illnesses MERS and SARS.
Acosta continued to interject and tussled with the President until he had to be told: “We’ll get it back. We’ll get you back. We’ll get you back. Please? Jim, I said we’ll get you back [later].”
Speaking of manufactured nonsense, Jiang came four questions later and wondered why senior adviser Jared Kushner referred on Thursday to “the federal stockpile” (containing Personal Protective Equipment and ventilators) as “our stock pile,” as if to suggest states wouldn’t have access.
Trump also diagnosed this attempt at creating controversy. Repeatedly groaning about her “gotcha” question, he explained that Kushner clearly meant the United States had access to it when he said “our,” but it would be dispersed at the federal government’s discretion.
Jiang didn’t accept his explanation, so the President called her out and moved on:
TRUMP: I mean, it’s such a basic, simple question, and you try and make it sound so bad.
JIANG: It’s not bad. I’m just trying to understand.
TRUMP: You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
JIANG: No! By the way, Secretary Azar —
TRUMP: It’s such a simple question. He said “our” and our means for the country and our means —
JIANG: — “It’s not supposed to be their stockpile.”
TRUMP: — for the states because the states are a part of the country. Don’t make it sound bad. Don’t make it sound bad. Go ahead, Steve. Go ahead. Back here.
JIANG: But the HHS even changed the language on the website.
TRUMP: You just asked your question. You just asked your question in a very nasty tone.
JIANG: I didn’t think it was nasty. You didn’t give me an answer.
TRUMP: Please. I gave you a perfect answer. You know it.
ABC chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl circled back to Jiang’s question and insisted that “it was a very important question” and the public needed to know whether Kushner misspoke.
Trump replied that his son-in-law hadn’t and prompted demolished this manufactured confusion