President Trump unleashed an angry tirade attacking NBC reporter Peter Alexander during the coronavirus briefing on Friday, telling the White House correspondent he should be ashamed of himself for asking whether he was giving Americans a false sense of hope with his optimism about a malaria drug’s potential use in response to the coronavirus.
Trump repeatedly said he was hopeful that the drug could be effective to fight COVID-19 as Alexander pressed him and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, about the issue.
“We’ll see how it works out, Peter. I’m not saying it will, but people may be surprised,” Trump said of the possibility that the drug could be effective.
Fauci explained that there was not a magic drug for the coronavirus but that it was fine that the president was optimistic about its potential.
“Is it possible that your impulse to put a positive spin on things may be giving Americans a false sense of hope,” Alexander later asked Trump.
“No, I don’t think so. It may work. It may not work. I feel good about it,” he said.
“What do you say to Americans watching right now who are scared?” Alexander asked, citing the growing number of confirmed cases and deaths attributed to the coronavirus.
“I say that you are a terrible reporter, that’s what I say,” Trump said. “I think that’s a very nasty question. And I think that’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.
“The American people are looking for answers and looking for hope, and you’re doing sensationalism, and the same with NBC and Concast. I don’t call it Comcast, I call it Concast,” Trump said of Comcast, the parent company of NBC.
“Let me just tell you something. That’s really bad reporting. And you ought to get back to reporting rather than sensationalism. Let’s see if it works. It might and it might not. I happen to feel good about it, but who knows? I’ve been right a lot.”
As another reporter then asked a question, Trump continued to attack Alexander, saying: “You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”