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‘Shameless’: CNN and MSNBC Cut Off Coronavirus Briefing, Rip Trump for Touting Anti-Drug Trafficking Effort

At different points of Wednesday’s White House press briefing on coronavirus, CNN and MSNBC not only cut away from the briefing but criticized President Donald Trump for today’s big focus on U.S. efforts against drug trafficking.

The president said at one point, “As governments and nations focus on the coronavirus, there is a growing threat that cartels, criminals, terrorists, and other malign actors will try to exploit the situation for their own gain. And we must not let that happen. We will never let that happen. Today the United States is launching enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western hemisphere to protect the American people from the deadly scourge of illegal narcotics. We must not let the drug cartels exploit the pandemic to threaten American lives.”

When CNN cut away, Wolf Blitzer observed the White House was trying to “change the focus” and John King went a little further:

“It is remarkable, Wolf, and some would say shameless. This is a coronavirus task force briefing. The country is in the middle of a pandemic. Americans are afraid, they are turning into these briefings to try to get information from the White House… If the United States military and the Justice Department are doing a better job keeping cocaine and other illicit drugs from getting into the country, congratulations. You can schedule an event at the Pentagon, the Justice Department, or in the White House briefing room if you think it’s that big of a deal, but call it what it is, say we have a major announcement on the war on drugs. Instead, they walk out for the coronavirus task force meeting and the president’s trying to have a bit of a political statement here.”

He reiterated Americans should applaud any success being made in the drug war but that’s “not what this briefing was scheduled for.”

At one point later in the briefing, CNN cut to a commercial break.

Meanwhile on MSNBC, Chuck Todd cut into the briefing for similar reasons, telling viewers they would return one “we get an update on the pandemic itself.”

“It’s certainly an interesting decision by the president to lead the task force with this,” Todd added. “If the president had important coronavirus news to tell us, I don’t know — I would assume it must not trump this in his mind.”

You can watch above, via CNN and MSNBC.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac