WASHINGTON, D.C. — During a recent White House press briefing on his administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, President Donald Trump took time to complain about how the press has covered his efforts thus far. Conservative commentator S.E. Cupp took note of Trump’s complaint in a tweet.
Trump: "We were very prepared. The only thing we weren't prepared for was the media."
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) March 19, 2020
Throughout his presidency, Trump has battled the free press. He’s referred to them as the “enemy of the people,” and has never shied away from implying that they fabricate stories, particularly if they result in criticism being leveled his way. Trump effectively redefined the term “fake news” — a term that that been used most often when describing satirical content that intentionally uses false stories for comedic effect — and has helped turn his devoted, rabid support base against what he calls “mainstream media.” Interestingly enough, he loves to tout Fox News’ ratings, but does not consider them “mainstream” unless someone is on their airwaves criticizing him.
Mr. Trump was asked about his comments in the Oval Office today while he signed an executive order banning anyone from referring to the coronavirus as anything other than the “Chinese Virus.” Trump said he was “immediately suspending” the First Amendment under the emergency powers granted to him in wartime situations, explaining that America is at war with COVID-19. Trump told reporters that he “bigly believes” his administration’s response would have been “faster, better, and less incompetent” if the media “wasn’t so mean” to him.
“I’ve been saying this all along, and the fake news enemies of the people won’t report it the way I tell them to, which Billy Barr tells me, apparently is legal because of the stupid First Amendment,” Trump began, “for now. We’ll see about how that all plays out. But anyway, I’ve said all along that if the fake news enemies of the people would cover me the right way, I’d have 110% approval ratings, and I’d be doing a lot better job.”
Trump said that “every time the media reports something bad” about his administration, he does a poor job. He explained he doesn’t choose to do a poor job in response to negative press coverage, “it just happens that way.” The president complained that the media is “too obsessed with quoting [him] accurately” and that they should “focus more on stories that are positive” for him.
“It’s just so mean. You lot are so damn mean to me. Do you know how mean it is to reprint my words exactly as I said them, or to report the results of my ineptitude accurately and exactly,” Trump asked rhetorically. “This whole CHINA VIRUS thing would be over by now if the fake news wasn’t so mean to me. My administration would have, like, totally done a way less incompetent job, but you all were so mean to me. So, you tell me who fucked up. It wasn’t me, I’ll tell you that much.”
Trump said it’s “obvious as hell” that the press is to blame for his administration’s ineptitude.
“Look, I can tell none of you believe me, that it’s your fault,” Trump observed, “but it’s obvious as hell I’m right. Think about it. If you wrote in your little bullshit papers that I did something good, or right, or at least not catastrophically stupid, people would read it and believe it. Even if it’s not true, people would believe it because you printed it. So, therefore, you reporting stuff that makes me look bad equals me being bad, and here we are at the undeniable conclusion which is, fuck you guys, that’s what.”
Trump was asked if he believes, as prior presidents have, that “the buck stops” with him.
“Uh, no. Why would I believe that,” Trump laughed. “There aren’t a lot of dollars in a pile on my desk. So clearly almost no bucks stop with me. Which is shameless and sad. Shouldn’t they all stop with me, since I’m the President of the United States and every buck says ‘The United States’ on it? I’m having Billy look into that one too, because I think I can make a pretttttty good argument that I own all the money in the country right now.”
The president bade everyone goodbye and closed the door to the Oval Office behind him as his aides shooed reporters out.
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.