If President Donald Trump wants to storm out of a news briefing, trust me, he’ll storm out. You’ll know it. This is a man who is unafraid to storm.
So imagine if you read the Daily Mail’s Twitter feed and saw this: “Trump REFUSES to say if he has been tested for coronavirus and storms out of White House briefing on crisis.”
Well, you’re ready for a storm. Not only that, the storming happened during a presser regarding coronavirus, which isn’t exactly an unserious topic, not when you consider the pandemic has claimed almost 5,000 lives as of Thursday morning.
Refusing to say if he was tested — particularly since he’s older — and then storming out of a briefing?
That’s not good.
This didn’t actually happen, however.
The to-do involves the fact that the president stayed at Mar-a-Lago with Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a rising GOP star. Gaetz also flew back to Washington with the president on Air Force One, along with Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
Both Gaetz and Meadows are currently self-quarantining after they came in contact with an individual who had coronavirus at the Conservative Political Action Conference late last month.
“While the Congressman is not experiencing symptoms … he’ll remain self-quarantined until the 14-day period expires this week,” Gaetz’s office said.
The American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC, said on its website that no additional cases of coronavirus among attendees had been reported as of Tuesday and everyone who had been in close contact with the infected individual had been notified.
So naturally, the question was whether Trump had been tested for coronavirus — one that was asked of him as he made his “stormy” exit.
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) March 9, 2020
Sounds pretty contentious. Was it really?
As Warner Wolf might have said, let’s go to the videotape:
Compare this Tweet by @DailyMail to what actually happened:
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) March 9, 2020
Boy, that’s uh, some storm. I guess that “Trump REFUSES to say if he has been tested for coronavirus and slowly moves left as he leaves a White House briefing on crisis” wasn’t exactly catchy copy.
Ah, but at least the Daily Mail could salvage some controversy, as it turned out the president hadn’t been tested.
“The president has not received COVID-19 testing because he has neither had prolonged close contact with any known confirmed COVID-19 patients, nor does he have any symptoms,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
“President Trump remains in excellent health, and his physician will continue to closely monitor him.”
Vice President Mike Pence, also a CPAC attendee, said he hadn’t been tested.
The Daily Mail, while it often does decent work (and leans toward the right in its political inclinations), is also a British tabloid, which aren’t necessarily known for their restraint.
The only time I actually laughed at “Frasier” was the episode where Daphne talked about how her uncle was a British tabloid writer who scored a big break. “The headline read: ‘High-ranking politician caught wearing women’s clothing,'” she said. “Of course, you turn to page two and you found out it was Margaret Thatcher, but by then you’d already bought the paper.”
That said, there’s no way to get “stormed” out of that exit. You couldn’t even get “breezed.”
The entire point of the tweet was to gin up fear about Donald Trump’s health. He has not exhibited any symptoms of coronavirus; the same could be said for Gaetz and Meadows.
Coronavirus is something to take very seriously. This isn’t.
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