President Donald Trump was not pleased with the line of questioning he faced from a CNN reporter.
The president had a heated exchange with reporter Jeremy Diamond and ultimately snapped at the reporter during the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Sunday.
Noting that more than 22 million Americans are currently unemployed and the coronavirus death toll in America has surpassed 40,000, Diamond asked Trump why he continues to hold press conferences congratulating himself for a job well done
“Can you explain why you come out here and you are reading clips and showing clips of praise for you and your administration?” the reporter asked. “Is this really the time for self-congratulations?”
In addition to applauding himself and the coronavirus task force each day, Trump has begun showing video clips of complimentary remarks others have made about his administration. Some news outlets have criticized the videos labeling them as campaign “propaganda” videos.
CNN banner right now pic.twitter.com/oA6IK9zuY2— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) April 13, 2020
Trump defended the clips as he said he aired them to “stand up” for the tens of thousands of frontline workers and healthcare professionals, but Diamond pressed further.
Reiterating the staggering death toll again, Diamond said, “The clip you played and what you read earlier was praising you and your administration.”
Check out the heated exchange below:
“You’re CNN. You’re fake news … you don’t have the brains you were born with” — asked why he’s playing clips of people praising him about a pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of Americans, Trump attacks a reporter pic.twitter.com/8qyBVUe8dR
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 19, 2020
The president fired back at Diamond calling him “fake news” and saying, “They were excoriated by people like you who don’t know any better because you don’t have the brains with you were born with.”
Despite Trump’s arguments, Diamond continued to ask why it was appropriate to congratulate himself now.
Trump went on to compare himself to Abraham Lincoln, suggesting the media did not treat him fairly either.
“You’re never going to treat me fairly, many of you, and I understand that. I don’t know, I got here with the worst more unfair press treatment in the history of the United States for president. They did say Abraham Lincoln had very bad treatment too.”
Trump’s heated exchange with Diamond follows a string of reports about last week’s coronavirus press briefings.
News outlets and critics have scrutinized the evolution of the daily press briefings, saying they have gone from coronavirus-related reports to subtle, televised campaign-style rallies presumably for the president’s reelection.
But despite the criticism, Trump insists his briefings are coronavirus-related. As of Monday morning, there were more than 759,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and a death toll of more than 40,000 in the United States.