CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney had a heated exchange on Wednesday about why President Trump is attacking the media for reporting on how he has handled the crisis situation in Puerto Rico.
Earlier today, Trump got on Twitter again to complain about all the “fake news” which came out of his trip to the island yesterday. To that end, Cuomo wanted to know “what is fake about [CNN’s] reporting” on the dire situation throughout the territory.
Mulvaney defended Trump’s frustration by saying the media constantly ignores the positive steps which have been taken so far towards Puerto Rico’s recovery. Cuomo responded with “it just sounds so self-serving to me,” and he argued that it’s the media role to point out the reality of the desperate situation.
“The need is real and the distress is real. We are showing the efforts. Because of the rhetoric out of the White House we spent a lot of our time talking to first responders saying why do you say we are not working? Why do you say we are not down here to help? Nobody has reported that, and it’s dangerous to do that.”
The two of them continued to spar over whether restoration efforts have been fairly reported, as well as the idea that the media is always looking for ways to embarrass the president. Cuomo found the later notion a “baseless” insult, and he pointed to the moment on Tuesday when Trump compared Puerto Rico’s death toll to the “real catastrophe” of post-Katrina New Orleans.
“When you say some of the reporting is fake – it’s not you, it’s the president, but you will defend it – It’s disingenuous, and you say we don’t report about the priorities, but we do and it’s going slowly…Don’t call it fake. Because it’s not fake. Everybody gets it’s going to take time. Everybody gets that after a disaster, there’s always lag and you had infrastructure problems there. And you know what people get, that are experts in the fields that are covering down there, you could have had more people there. You could have had a different distribution of assets sooner. you could be doing more now. The need is great and adjustments need to be made, and at the same time the White House was denying that, you were doing exactly that.”
The discussion moved on to questions about how the recovery process could be improved, and whether Trump was serious last night when he spoke about wiping out Puerto Rico’s debt.
Watch above, via CNN.
[Image via screengrab]
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