Trump Rips Politicized Coverage of Coronavirus Crisis, Defends Administration's Response

February 28, 2020

President Donald Trump said members of the media are doing everything they can to "instill fear" in people over the coronavirus and defended his administration's response to the viral outbreak.

"I think that CNN is a very disreputable network," Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Friday. "I think they're doing everything they can to instill fear in people, and I think it's ridiculous."

"Some of the Democrats are doing it the way it should be, but some of them are trying to gain political favor by saying a lot of untruths," Trump added.

The stock market experienced its worst week since the financial crisis in 2008 over fears of the virus's impact on the international economy.

Democratic presidential contenders made false claims about Trump cutting the budgets of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An Associated Press fact check also found that the leadership of these agencies has remained stable despite Michael Bloomberg's claim that there was "nobody here" to deal with the virus.

Trump also defended the administration's decision to restrict travel to and from China, where the coronavirus was first discovered.

"The fact is I made one decision that was a very important decision and that was to close our country to a certain area of the world that was relatively heavily infected," Trump said.

"Had that decision not been made, it could be a much different story. Some people are giving us credit for that. And some people aren't. The only ones who aren't, they don't mean it. It's political, it's politics," he added.

CNN criticized the Trump administration's task force for its lack of diversity, saying the group was constituted by "mostly white men who are mirror images of the President himself."

The Washington Post also criticized the appointment of Vice President Mike Pence to lead the government's response, due to Pence's handling of an HIV outbreak as governor of Indiana in 2015.

House Republicans walked out of a closed-door meeting after Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D., Conn.) started the meeting by criticizing the administration's response. Another Democratic congresswoman, Rep. Donna Shalala (D., Fla.), expressed frustration with her colleague for the criticism, telling Politico, "No one wanted to hear that, either the Democrats or Republican. We just wanted to hear the substance."