Trump in crisis mode uses Hannity interview to attack the media and Democratic governors

Some Fox News hosts have accused other media outlets of politicizing coronavirus and creating unnecessary panic. Watch the latest videos on Covid-19. 

Posted: Mar 27, 2020 6:31 PM
Updated: Mar 27, 2020 6:31 PM

President Trump's media allies and social media attack dogs are deflecting criticism of the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic by giving viewers and Twitterers other targets of ire.

The targets include Democratic governors, presidential candidate Joe Biden and even a key member of Trump's coronavirus task force, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.

On Friday, Trump's re-election campaign promoted anti-Biden messages on social media, including an image that said, in all-caps, "Biden left the federal stockpile of N95 masks depleted" and "failed our country."

Biden left the vice presidency more than three years ago.

Bashing Biden, the expected Democratic nominee for president, is a no-brainer for Trump allies. But one of the other recent targets is much more surprising.

While some in conservative media have praised Fauci, including Sean Hannity and his prime time Fox News colleague Laura Ingraham, other influential pro-Trump voices on social media have come after him for, in their view, urging excessive measures to slow the spread of the virus. Moments when Fauci has contradicted Trump's misinformation have also drawn ire. One far-right commentator has given Fauci the derisive nickname "Dr. Doom."

Jerome Corsi, an author, conspiracy theorist and associate of Roger Stone, implied that Fauci was trying to stoke fear by comparing him to an Elizabethan character who dabbled in black magic.

"How Dr. Faustus hates giving up his little bit of power & his moment of glory SCARING USA that COVID-19 may become seasonal, returning stronger next year," he said in a tweet.

In what appears to be an attempt to smear Fauci, right-wing opinion site The Gateway Pundit published an article on Friday that called out what it said was his "friendship" with the director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The Washington Post pointed out that on Fox News' business network, host Lou Dobbs said on Monday that "frankly Fauci was wrong" about the use of experimental medicine.

Politico said the Fauci critics are on the "right-wing fringe," and noted that both Trump and Fauci have dismissed talk about Trump being unhappy with the doctor.

The Post noted that while both men are trying to "tamp down the appearance of tension," the President is growing wary of medical consensus.

That Hannity interview

Some of the right-wing commentary has an "I'm rubber, you're glue" feel — as hosts like Hannity scrutinized the federal government's failures and bounced it back to Trump's critics.

On Thursday night, before Trump called in to Hannity's show and said the federal government is merely a backup system for the states, Hannity tore into New York governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio. An on-screen graphic of their faces was titled "FAILURE TO PREPARE."

"Both of you need to stop politicizing this national emergency," Hannity told them through the TV.

Cuomo and de Blasio have challenged Trump to provide more military resources, nationalize the medical supply chain and take other steps to help states. Trump has bristled at the criticism — and so have his supporters with big media megaphones.

Hannity said New York City and the state should have been better prepared for the pandemic: "You need to own up to your mistakes," he said Thursday night.

Trump's re-election campaign has been pushing the same set of talking points, seemingly shifting blame from the president to local officials.

"The people of New York City are suffering because of Bill de Blasio's incompetence," the @TrumpWarRoom Twitter account asserted on Thursday, followed by a hashtag that misspelled the word coronavirus.

During his 40-minute-long chat with Hannity, Trump said he is "getting along" with Cuomo, though he cast doubt on New York state's scientific projections of the spread of the virus. Regarding ventilators, he said officials like Cuomo "say we want 30,000 of them. 30,000! Think of this. You go to hospitals, they'll have one in a hospital, and now all of a sudden everybody's asking for these vast numbers."

Cuomo's pleas are based on best-in-class modeling and medical expertise. But Trump still expressed skepticism about the scale of the crisis. He told Hannity, "I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they're going to be. I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators."

Trump also used the televised phone call to criticize two Democratic governors, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Jay Inslee of Washington state.

"We've had a big problem" with Whitmer, he said, without identifying her by name.

Trump also noted Inslee's political standing, calling him a "failed presidential candidate" who is "always complaining."

"We don't like to see the complaints," he added.

Trump's remarks generated a new round of criticism on Friday morning. On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Willie Geist said governors are having to factor in Trump's emotions: "If you dare raise hell, because literally the life of your citizens depends on it, he calls in to Sean Hannity's show and rips you as a failed presidential candidate. That's the balance these governors are looking at."

Countless political commentators have observed that Trump always needs an enemy. As the pandemic has overtaken national politics, his chosen enemies have included China, news media outlets and Biden.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51079

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12019693
Lake5588248
Elkhart353959
Allen2939134
St. Joseph210669
Hamilton1691101
Cass16449
Hendricks1454100
Johnson1340118
Porter82638
Tippecanoe7709
Vanderburgh7276
Clark69544
Madison67464
LaPorte61628
Howard59858
Bartholomew59745
Kosciusko5754
Marshall5449
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LaGrange4849
Boone48244
Jackson4783
Delaware47152
Hancock46736
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Floyd40644
Morgan34231
Monroe34028
Grant31826
Dubois3046
Henry30018
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27410
Dearborn25823
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
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Warrick25029
Harrison21722
Greene19432
Miami1932
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1649
Wayne1546
Daviess15017
Perry14710
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1352
Ripley1307
Franklin1278
Gibson1202
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Carroll1142
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Whitley1066
Starke1043
Newton10010
Huntington942
Jefferson862
Wells821
Randolph794
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Knox710
Jay700
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush613
Posey570
Spencer541
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 64214

Reported Deaths: 3036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11724445
Cuyahoga8979393
Hamilton6781207
Lucas2952305
Marion274539
Montgomery244035
Summit2327209
Pickaway222241
Mahoning1928239
Butler182147
Columbiana137860
Stark1214114
Lorain112069
Trumbull104578
Warren97725
Clark80010
Delaware69815
Fairfield66717
Tuscarawas60410
Lake58923
Medina58232
Belmont56922
Licking56812
Miami50631
Portage49259
Wood48851
Clermont4737
Ashtabula44744
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3715
Allen35641
Greene3439
Mercer29910
Erie27122
Holmes2595
Darke25626
Huron2402
Madison2169
Ottawa17324
Sandusky16015
Washington14620
Ross1443
Coshocton1423
Athens1391
Crawford1385
Putnam13715
Hardin12312
Morrow1201
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1092
Muskingum1001
Union931
Preble901
Monroe8917
Hancock861
Lawrence830
Guernsey823
Clinton811
Hocking809
Williams762
Shelby744
Logan711
Ashland672
Carroll673
Fulton670
Scioto670
Wyandot635
Brown611
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland501
Van Wert471
Perry441
Seneca412
Henry330
Paulding300
Jackson280
Pike280
Adams261
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble140
Harrison131
Meigs130
Morgan110
Unassigned00
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