Last week, President Trump warned the nation that it is in for a “very rough” two coming weeks. He was referring to the number of expected deaths from the Wuhan cornonavirus during that period.
Trump has also spoken of the economic devastation caused by the shutdown he called for. He mentions the immense toll of the shutdown on the economy at every press briefing I see.
Yet at today’s briefing, CNN’s Jim Acosta described Trump’s pressers as “happy talk.” This is fake news.
Acosta didn’t say what it is about Trump’s talk of death and economic destruction he considers “happy.” To be fair, Trump didn’t give him much of a chance. Instead, the president hammered Acosta for his ridiculous characterization of Trump’s briefings. You can watch it here.
It’s true that Trump doesn’t just deliver dire warnings and bad news. He points to the administration’s success in helping to mobilize the country to combat the virus. He notes the herculean effort to find and produce ventilators, hospital beds, and tests.
But this isn’t happy talk, it’s reality. For example, New York, the epicenter of the pandemic, reportedly has enough hospital beds and many more ventilators than it needs.
Trump also says it looks like the U.S. death count will be lower than initially projected, and much lower than it would have been without stay-at-home policies. Here, Trump relies on models, especially the one from the University of Washington’s IHME.
The president may be placing too much reliance on models. However, it’s not “happy talk” to cite them as evidence. Acosta and his news network would be citing them non-stop if they painted an even grimmer picture.
If given free rein, I think Acosta would have pointed to “doctors” who say they don’t have enough tests, etc. This seemed to be where the CNN man was going.
I’m pretty sure there are doctors who honestly say they don’t have everything they need to fight the virus. Even if we’re producing enough tests, ventilators, etc. in the aggregate, there are likely to be problems distributing them to every health care provider who needs them or thinks he does.
Trump isn’t talking to every doctor in America who’s involved in fighting the Wuhan coronavirus. He is talking to every governor who’s trying to combat the virus in his or her state.
Trump reports that the governors are getting what they ask for and/or need from the feds. If that’s true in the main, it’s not happy talk for Trump to say so.
In any case, it’s absurd for Acosta to characterize Trump’s pressers in general as happy talk. I’ve yet to watch a single briefing that described this pandemic in happy terms.