In an explosive White House briefing on Monday, President Donald Trump lashed out at reporters and asserted his “total” authority in overruling governors to lift social distancing orders.
The press briefing made headlines after Trump decided to dim the lights and play a short propaganda video entitled, “The Media Minimized The Risk From The Start.” The video featured edited clips of Fox News hosts and other media making predictions about the virus that did not come true, followed by clips of Trump announcing measures to combat the outbreak, and clips of governors praising Trump.
When a reporter questioned why the White House-made video did not include his actions in February — when Trump did little to prepare for the outbreak and called the virus a Democratic hoax — Trump lost his temper with the reporter:
The press briefing follows days of similarly unhinged tweets by the president attacking Fox News and the New York Times, all while promoting One America News Network — a right-wing cable network loyally devoted to the president — as an alternative media source for Americans to rely on.
Trump’s reinvigorated crusade against the media comes days after a slew of national polls showed Americans growing increasingly dissatisfied with how he is handling the COVID-19 outbreak.
Aggregate polling this month shows 51 percent disapprove and 47 percent approve of Trump’s handling of the outbreak, a reversal from just a few weeks ago when Trump’s response was viewed favorably by most Americans. One of the most recent national polls, conducted by ABC-Ipsos late last week, found an 11-point difference in people’s attitudes, with 55 percent disapproving and 44 percent approving.
In polling that surveys registered voters, Morning Consult found a plurality of voters now disapprove of the president’s response for the first time since they began tracking voter opinion on the issue in late February. The same poll shows that Trump’s net approval for handling the virus has dropped 18 points since mid-March, the peak of Trump’s short-lived coronavirus bump.
The rollercoaster of approval for Trump’s most challenging issue yet comes as aggregate polling continues to show Vice President Joe Biden leading Trump in the 2020 election. Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign, making Biden (whom Sanders endorsed on Monday) the presumptive nominee in the primary race.
In the U.S., the number of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed half a million over the weekend. As of Tuesday morning, Texas is reporting 13,906 cases and 287 fatalities.
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