President Donald Trump clashed with a White House reporter on Friday during a briefing on the administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
NBC News White House Correspondent Peter Alexander questioned Trump on a malaria drug, which administration.
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
“Is it possible that your impulse to put a positive spin on things may be giving Americans a false sense of hope,” Alexander asked.
Trump said it “may not work” but “I feel good about it.”
As the president attempted to move on to another reporter’s question, Alexander askedwhat he had to say to the “millions” of “sick” Americans who are “scared.”
“I say that you’re a terrible reporter… I think it is a bad signal that you are putting out to the American people,” Trump replied.
“The American people are looking for answers and looking for hope, and you’re doing sensationalism. And the same with NBC and Comcast for who you do work — let me say something, that’s really bad reporting. You ought to get back to reporting instead of sensationalism.”
Trump said on Friday he had put the Defense Production Act into action after saying earlier this week he would invoke the measure, but essentially put it on hold until needed.
The measure is meant to allow the U.S. government to speed production of masks, respirators, ventilators and other needed equipment to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump said he put the measure into action on Thursday evening.
Asked why he was putting it into action now, the president told reporters it would be used to ensure that U.S. states could get masks and other equipment needed to fight the virus.
The law, which dates back to the Korean War of the 1950s, grants the president broad authority to “expedite and expand the supply of resources from the U.S. industrial base to support military, energy, space, and homeland security programs,” according to a summary on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.
(Reuters contributed to this report.)