President Donald Trump triggered the establishment news media on Friday when he sparred with an NBC News reporter during a White House coronavirus briefing.
The drug is still in the testing phase, meaning it is not yet widely available.
And Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has cautioned that it’s not yet clear if the drug will help.
“It is possible that your impulse to put a positive spin on things may be giving Americans a false sense of hope and misrepresenting the preparedness right now,” Alexander asked.
“No, I don’t think so,” Trump replied. “Such a lovely question.”
“I feel good about it. That’s all it is, just a feeling.”
“We’ll see how it works out, Peter,” Trump also said.
Trump continued, emphasizing that while there’s no guarantee the drug will work on the coronavirus, he was still optimistic.
But Alexander wasn’t done.
“What do you say to Americans who are scared though, I guess. Nearly 200 dead, 14,000 who are sick. Millions, as you witnessed, who are scared right now. What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?” he asked.
Trump wasn’t having it.
“I say that you’re a terrible reporter. That’s what I say,” he replied. “I think it’s a very nasty question, and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people. The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 20, 2020
“And you’re doing sensationalism,” he added.
“Let me just tell you something. That’s really bad reporting, and you ought to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism.
“Let’s see if [the drug] works. It might and it might not. I happen to feel good about it, but who knows? I’ve been right a lot.”
Trump’s harsh words for Alexander triggered plenty of establishment media journalists:
FWIW, @PeterAlexander is one of the most hard-working, honest, and professional journalists on the White House beat today. He’s fair, unflappable, and asks top-notch questions.
If that’s “terrible,” we should all aspire to be just as terrible in our own careers.
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) March 20, 2020
.@PeterAlexander is a phenomenal journalist and person.
Trump just smeared him w/o offering a single example to back up this attack.
?The attack was prompted by Peter asking the president to calm an anxious nation.
— Heidi Przybyla (@HeidiNBC) March 20, 2020
Lest there be any doubt… @PeterAlexander is a rock solid reporter and as fair as they come. I’ve covered presidents and politicians with Peter for a decade and he always asks important and challenging questions, even if they get under the skin of people in power.
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) March 20, 2020
Talk about esprit de corps. Excellent question @PeterAlexander – should have been a layup for the president to make Americans feel better. Good for @CeciliaVega for keeping it going AND not letting POTUS off the hook – & @kaitlancollins for calling him out.
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) March 20, 2020
ISO cam on Peter Alexander as Trump melts down about a fair question pic.twitter.com/6iOO2LwWQC
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 20, 2020
My colleague @PeterAlexander asked a fair question to @POTUS about his message to Americans who are afraid. @POTUS chose to instead go into attack mode. Many Americans would probably like to hear that message.
— Kristen Welker (@kwelkernbc) March 20, 2020
Goes without saying, but @PeterAlexander is a straight arrow and a real pro. His questions were smart and relevant.
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) March 20, 2020
Trump has previously expressed optimism that the drug could help Americans with the coronavirus.
“This is beyond right-to-try,” he said at Thursday’s briefing.
“If treatments known to be safe in Europe, Japan or other nations are known to be effective against a virus, we’ll use that information to protect the health and safety of American people.”
“Nothing will stand in our way as we pursue any avenue to find what best works against this horrible virus,” Trump added.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.