Trump goes into hiding

Article Image

President Trump unexpectedly leaves the coronavirus task force briefing without answering questions, a day after he asked medical experts to look into the possibility of injecting disinfectant as a treatment for the coronavirus.

Posted: Apr 26, 2020 1:31 PM
Updated: Apr 26, 2020 1:31 PM

A version of this article first appeared in the "Reliable Sources" newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

It looks like President Trump is going into hiding -- from the press, that is. Facing an avalanche of controversy over his bizarre comments on sunlight and dangerous comments regarding disinfectants, the President held a record short briefing Friday evening (sans Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx), abruptly ending it after 22 minutes of statements without taking any questions from the press.

On CNN, Wolf Blitzer called Trump "chicken" and said he was "probably afraid" of the grilling he was all but certain to face over the "flat lie" he told the day before regarding disinfectants. Later in the night, Anderson Cooper, who argued Trump was guilty of "Soviet"-like spin for pretending his comments were sarcastic during a bill signing, said he "cut and ran" because he knew he'd face hard questions.

CNN and other news organizations, including Axios which broke the news, reported Friday evening that there has been an effort among White House aides to stop holding daily coronavirus briefings. And the schedule released for Saturday shows no briefings scheduled...

"Unsettling"

The move comes after Trump even started receiving criticism from Fox. When he tried to claim that he was merely being sarcastic with his disinfectant remarks, anchors like Neil Cavuto and Bret Baier pushed back. "Wow, that is a little unsettling," said Cavuto. "Got to clarify this. The president was not joking in his remarks yesterday." And Baier said Trump "clearly stepped in it" and did not appear to be joking.

>> Worth noting: While some on Fox pushed back against Trump's remarks, AP's David Bauder pointed out that the network didn't question them on Thursday. The network's news site also questioned whether critics had "twisted" Trump's words. And Trump's biggest defenders on the network still are not challenging him. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Trump does an on-air chat sooner than later with one of his friends on Fox while he dodges questions from the press...

Drudge brutally mocks

It wasn't just Fox anchors like Cavuto and Baier. The Drudge Report, which has grown critical of Trump, but is still one of the top conservative news websites, brutally mocked Trump on Friday. Take a look at the site's banner headline and image (and pay attention to what the label says). Ouch!

That said, some loyal outlets tried defending

That's not to say that Trump didn't have right-wing outlets rush to defend him. Websites like The Daily Wire, The Gateway Pundit, and Breitbart all published stories trying to convince readers that Trump didn't say what he clearly said. Breitbart's story, written by Joel Pollack, was widely mocked online.

And it appeared by late Friday that it even had crossed a line for Breitbart's senior management. A note was appended to the top of Pollack's story saying it had been "erroneously framed" as a fact check when it should have been labeled opinion. "We apologize for the error, and you are welcome for all the opportunities to dunk on us on Twitter," the note said. Yikes!

>> Of course, worth noting that Breitbart's note came after Trump claimed his remarks were sarcastic, effectively admitting he made them. Which brings me to this point from Ben Collins who tweeted, "Shout out to all of the fringe media outlets who feverishly scrambled all night to claim Trump didn't say to inject disinfectant, or that he was referencing some obscure UV light treatment, only to be kneecapped at noon by the president, who now says he was just kidding..."

White House even tries reassigning seats

Back to Trump's aversion to the press... Before Friday's briefing, the White House attempted to force CNN to swap its front-row seat with the seat reserved at the back of the room for the print pooler. Kaitlan Collins, who was in the room for CNN, said on Twitter that both she and the print pooler, The Blade's Chris Johnson, refused. The briefing ultimately took place with both of them in their original seats.

The WHCA controls the press seating assignments, not the White House, so the officials had no real authority to try to pick and choose where Collins or Johnson sat. But it's worth noting the lengths the White House went to in its effort to implement this move. Johnson said he had been told by a White House official that it wasn't an option and that the Secret Service was involved. The Secret Service later told the WHCA that it was "not involved whatsoever in this effort."

Karl says WHCA will "challenge any effort" to move reporters

I spoke by phone with WHCA President Jon Karl on Friday night. "The bottom line," Karl told me, "is there is a decades long bipartisan tradition of the WHCA determining the seating assignments in the briefing room." He said, "I don't know what the White House is doing, but I know where we stand. We will challenge any effort to pick and choose what outlets are there or the manner in which they are in there."

No comment from the White House

I emailed Kayleigh McEnany and Hogan Gidley multiple times on Friday night asking for comment. Why did the White House try to force a seat swap? Why did an official say the Secret Service was involved in the matter when the Secret Service says it wasn't? I never heard back...

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 45594

Reported Deaths: 2640
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11329679
Lake4847239
Elkhart304143
Allen2649110
St. Joseph183065
Cass16369
Hamilton1463100
Hendricks136699
Johnson1232118
Porter68036
Madison64263
Tippecanoe6338
Clark61644
Bartholomew57844
Howard54256
LaPorte53425
Kosciusko4842
LaGrange4566
Jackson4543
Noble43428
Delaware42548
Boone42142
Hancock41835
Shelby41425
Vanderburgh4136
Marshall4093
Floyd36244
Morgan31831
Grant28526
Montgomery28520
Clinton2792
Dubois2596
White25710
Monroe24428
Decatur24332
Henry23515
Lawrence22924
Vigo2228
Harrison20822
Dearborn20322
Warrick19629
Greene18431
Miami1802
Jennings16910
Putnam1658
DeKalb1574
Scott1547
Daviess13816
Orange13323
Wayne1276
Franklin1248
Steuben1232
Perry1188
Ripley1127
Carroll1082
Jasper1072
Wabash1072
Fayette957
Newton9410
Whitley794
Randolph764
Huntington702
Starke683
Jay670
Wells671
Fulton661
Jefferson641
Washington641
Knox620
Clay594
Pulaski591
Rush563
Benton470
Adams451
Sullivan451
Owen431
Gibson412
Brown381
Blackford352
Posey320
Spencer301
Tipton301
Crawford290
Fountain282
Switzerland240
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike60
Unassigned0192

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51789

Reported Deaths: 2863
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin9148404
Cuyahoga6831364
Hamilton5010198
Marion272638
Lucas2600301
Pickaway217041
Summit1953205
Mahoning1741228
Montgomery170425
Butler140544
Columbiana120560
Stark1042112
Lorain94767
Trumbull83462
Warren73821
Clark7298
Belmont52821
Tuscarawas50710
Delaware49415
Fairfield48116
Medina48032
Miami43731
Lake43317
Ashtabula42043
Portage41258
Licking40411
Geauga38742
Wood37651
Wayne35352
Clermont3476
Richland3145
Allen29338
Mercer2708
Darke23425
Erie22822
Greene2089
Holmes2023
Madison1878
Huron1701
Crawford1356
Ottawa12923
Washington12420
Sandusky12213
Morrow1141
Putnam11316
Hardin11112
Ross1072
Auglaize993
Monroe8517
Union771
Coshocton761
Hancock761
Hocking767
Jefferson762
Muskingum731
Williams652
Lawrence630
Preble621
Clinton610
Guernsey593
Logan581
Shelby584
Wyandot584
Fulton570
Ashland531
Brown521
Carroll513
Fayette460
Defiance453
Highland421
Knox391
Champaign371
Scioto350
Athens331
Seneca332
Perry301
Henry290
Van Wert240
Paulding230
Vinton222
Adams211
Pike200
Jackson170
Gallia141
Harrison121
Meigs110
Morgan90
Noble90
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 70°
Angola
Few Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
Huntington
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 70°
Decatur
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 64°
Van Wert
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 64°
Hot Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events