Trump’s handling of COVID-19 misinforms public, insults reporters

Autumn Page, Staff Reporter

It’s an unusual time in the world with a pandemic raging and a president who only takes it seriously after hundreds of thousands have died globally. How President Donald Trump has been handling this worldwide crisis is less than respectable. Given that he’s the nation’s leader, and he continues to belittle reporters for doing their jobs is downright upsetting — and I want to say unbelievable, but come on, we all know who we’re talking about here. 

Trump held a COVID-19 press conference in the Rose Garden on Sunday, March 29, where many reporters began to ask questions. One reporter named Yamiche Alcindor, with PBS NewsHour, bluntly told Trump she had two questions, one of which was regarding a statement he said involving governors requesting an exaggerated amount of ventilators. 

She only got to ask half of her question, saying, “The first is you’ve said repeatedly that you think that some of the equipment that governors are requesting they don’t actually need. You said New York might not need 30,000—”

Trump, being his disrespectful and immature self, felt the need to not let her finish her question before responding. He cut in saying that he didn’t say that, then got defensive when Alcindor brought up that he said it on Sean Hannity’s Fox News segment.

Is Trump really trying to claim he didn’t say something when it was broadcasted on television? Yes, and that’s all I have to say about that. Where’s CNN’s fact-checker when you need ’em? 

If you thought he’d stop there, unfortunately, you’re wrong. He continued on, saying Alcindor needed to be “a little more positive,” and no one trusts the media anymore because it’s always “get ya, get ya, get ya.” 

I didn’t know answering a reporter’s questions involved the entire media community. Being part of the media community myself, I am confused.

Alcindor, as an experienced reporter, tried to finish her question to no avail. She was cut off again by Trump.

“Excuse me,” he said. “You didn’t hear me. That’s why you used to work for the Times and now you work for somebody else. Look, let me tell you something — be nice. Don’t be threatening.” 

This isn’t the first time he’s attacked black, female reporters, or reporters in general. Moreover, this isn’t the first time he’s gone after Alcindor WITHIN A SINGLE MONTH. Earlier in March, Trump called a question Alcindor asked a “nasty question.” Her question was simply, “Has the suspension of the White House pandemic office slowed the country’s response to the coronavirus?”

Alcindor isn’t the only reporter to receive this treatment from Trump since this pandemic exploded into the crisis it is now. 

On Friday, March 20, Peter Alexander, White House correspondent for NBC News, simply asked, “What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?”

To which Trump responded, “I say that you’re a terrible reporter. That’s what I say.”

Nice. 

During the same press conference, Jon Karl, ABC News chief White House correspondent, asked Trump if everyone who needs a ventilator will get one. 

Trump responded like a middle school child. 

“Look, don’t be a cutie pie,” he said. “OK? … We had a bad testing system. We had a bad stockpile system. We had nothing in the stockpile system. So I wouldn’t tell me what you’re telling – you know, like being a wise guy.”

There are many more instances like these, where Trump acts like a Karen to people doing their jobs, and — being that he’s supposed to be a respected national figure — it’s sad. 

I’m not a mainstream, popular reporter where I get hundreds of comments telling me to kill myself. I’m a college reporter writing about the crazy world of politics, but when I see the aforementioned reporters getting treated with so little respect by a powerful leader — it makes me go, “Wow seriously? These people are doing their jobs, and people like Trump have the audacity to disrespect them AND their work?” 

I get it, being a powerful human who has to make hard decisions causes a lot of stress, but if that stress can’t be handled in a decent way or even by talking to people reasonably — is it really worth it?

Having a national leader who continues to disrespect reporters and women, we all know what I’m talking about, is disgusting and #notmypresident.