The pressures of the coronavirus crisis are clearly starting to get to the president in a time when we need cool-headed and calm leadership more than ever. An embarrassing scene unfolded today during his latest coronavirus press conference when President Trump exploded at NBC reporter Peter Alexander.
The clip is especially distressing to watch because Alexander wasn’t even challenging him or asking any tough questions; he simply asked him if he had anything to say to Americans who are frightened by the pandemic currently gripping the nation after citing some of the harrowing statistics about the spread of the disease.
“What do you say to Americans who are scared?”
But the perpetually defensive and paranoid Trump instinctively interpreted the question as blaming him for frightening Americans, prompting him to erupt in a furious diatribe, calling it a “nasty question” and trashing the media in general.
“I say that you are a terrible reporter. That’s what I say…you’re doing sensationalism. And the same with NBC and Comcast. I don’t call it Comcast. I call it ‘Con-Cast.'”
NBC's @PeterAlexander asks Trump what he'd say to Americans who are frightened.
Trump goes on rant against Alexander, says he asked a "nasty question," calls him a "terrible reporter" and attacks NBC and Comcast. pic.twitter.com/vZAk3M4mqR
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) March 20, 2020
It is an appalling show of unhinged vitriol and an astonishing abdication of leadership from our ostensible commander-in-chief. Trump is clearly well aware of the role his deliberate neglect played in exacerbating the crisis, which in his mind implicitly frames any kind of discussion of its tangible consequences as an indictment of his presidency — which it is.
Since any criticism or blame is utterly anathema to the hypersensitive Trump, his decaying brain can only respond with venom.
CNN’s Kaitie Collins, stunned at what she had just seen from the President of the United States, took up Alexander’s softball and hit Trump with the bat:
“You see yourself as a wartime President right now, leading the country through a pandemic that we are experiencing. Do you think going off on Peter, going off on a network is appropriate when the country is going through something like this?”
Trump doubled down, slamming Alexander as “not a good journalist” and complained that “coming together is much harder when we have dishonest journalists.”
There is little else left to say at this point; how many more times can we cry in frustration about how much of a disgrace Donald Trump is to our nation and his office? How many times has he utterly failed to take any kind of leadership in a time of crisis? How many times has he let Americans die and then refused to take any responsibility for it? How many times has he attacked the media and undermined their credibility for trying to hold him accountable for his incompetence and his heinous misdeeds?
We’ve seen this too many times before, and yet it is still truly jarring to behold. Removing him from office this November has to be our nation’s highest priority.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.