Wolf Blitzer Calls Trump ‘Chicken’ for Not Taking Questions at Briefing: Probably ‘Afraid’ After ‘Flat Lie’ About Injecting Disinfectant
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer called out President Donald Trump as “shall we say, chicken” on Friday after the president abruptly left the daily White House coronavirus briefing without taking any questions from the press. Trump, Blitzer suggested, was “probably afraid” of taking a slew of uncomfortable and embarrassing questions about yesterday’s “flat lie” that medical researchers should look into injecting disinfectant into Covid-19 patients as a potential treatment.
After only 22 minutes, Vice President Mike Pence wrapped up his updates on the coronavirus pandemic. But instead of the usual litany of other administration briefers or the typical question and answer session with White House correspondents, all of the assembled officials simply turned and walked out, including Trump.
Blitzer was clearly stunned by the full retreat of the White House.
“All right, well, that’s a surprise,” Blitzer said. “After the vice president speaks, after head of the FDA speaks, the president makes brief opening comments. They simply walk out and refuse to answer questions, presumably because the president knew he was about to be bombarded with very serious, important questions about what he said yesterday which turned out to be a flat lie as far as ingesting various products that could kill you potentially.”
“When he did answer a question earlier today and he lied and said he was being sarcastic about what he said about disinfectant in your body and light in your body being able to somehow cure coronavirus,” CNN’s Gloria Borger noted, before suggesting tthe coronavirus briefings should no longer include Trump. “He knew he was going toe asked about it again, and he doesn’t like being asked tough questions. So what I would raise here, well, if the president is just going to read something that someone wrote for him an hour ago and pick it up and read it, then perhaps the coronavirus briefings should be going back to the people who are the scientists and Mike Pence, who runs the coronavirus task force. and who is on the conference calls with the governors, and perhaps that is the way they ought to be rather than have the president at the podium dispensing rumor and false scientific information.”
“It was very awkward, Wolf,” said CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta, who was present at the truncated briefing. “I don’t think we have seen anything from the president in the coronavirus pandemic. He has appeared in the briefing room from time to time and ducked out again. But this is a whole different kind of experience, Wolf, and you’re right on the money on this. This a president who is feeling the heat big time after he made that outlandish, ridiculous comment yesterday that people can inject themselves with household disinfectants to cure the coronavirus, and said it was sarcasm. That was obviously a lie.”
Acosta then noted that neither Dr. Anthony Fauci nor Dr. Deborah Birx were in attendance at Friday’s briefing, and added that White House sources told him that some of the Trump administration’s public health experts have grown increasingly uneasy about appearing alongside Trump as he dispenses inaccurate or specious advice on live TV. “The experts on the task force are highly aware of the cameras and they are very concerned about their expressions being picked up,” Acosta explained, alluding to a now viral clip of Birx visibly squirming as Trump’s made his irresponsible comments on Thursday. “They don’t want to be seen disagreeing or perhaps laughing at the president when he makes these sorts of the claims and what you end up with is a lot of the experts the public is relying on, can’t really give the American people the truth because they’re worried about the president lashing at out them or making a scene that has to be cleaned up later, and may just be better off for everything that the press conference ended so early.”
Minutes later, Blitzer returned to Trump’s decision to avoid the press in a discussion with CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale, whose job was made considerably easier on Friday since he almost nothing to vet.
This was the first time the president has been afraid to answer questions from reporters. Reporters were all there, they were sitting in the White House briefing room, that’s their job to answer serious, important, tough questions,” Blitzer pointed out. “The president was, shall we say, chicken today.”
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