January 25, 2021

Coronavirus: Trump berates media at jaw-dropping briefing

After leaving the White House Briefing Room on Monday evening following a marathon two-hour 24-minute press conference, I felt I could have knocked off the whole lot in one sitting.

This has been the most dizzying, jaw dropping, eyeball popping, head spinning news conference I have ever attended. And I was at Bill Clinton’s news conference in 1998 when he faced the Press for the first time over his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

I was at this president’s first White House gathering when he called me “another beauty”. I was in Helsinki when he had his first news conference with Vladimir Putin, and seemed to prefer to believe the Russian leader over his own security and intelligence chiefs on interference in the 2016 election.

I was in Vietnam when Mr Trump gave a news conference after his talks with Kim Jong-un had unceremoniously collapsed. So I’ve sat in on some corkers.

What made last night’s encounter unique was the context. And secondly, this was, if you like, a distillation – all the talk of gin, I think, forced me to use that word – in one news conference of what three-and -a-half years of Donald Trump has been like to cover.

There are more than 23,000 Americans dead because of coronavirus and more than half a million infected – and remember that in early March, Donald Trump was saying there were a handful of cases, but that would soon be down to zero.

Yet Donald Trump walked into the briefing room with scores to settle with the media. This wasn’t about the dead, the desperately sick, the people fearful of catching the virus. This was about him. And more particularly his profound sense of grievance that the media has been critical of his handling of Covid-19.

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