President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
But at this evening’s White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, Trump took a different tack with Acosta which made the CNN “journalist” look rather small.
During a somewhat lengthy exchange between the two, Acosta asked Trump if there was any “fairness to the criticism that you lulled Americans into a false sense of security when you were saying things like ‘it’s going to go away?'”
Trump interjected to say “it is going away, Jim” several times as Acosta attempted to phrase and rephrase his “gotcha” question, but Trump didn’t rise to the bait.
The answer he gave Acosta was a good explainer as to what a president’s role is in a time of crisis like the one we’re in now: To give people hope. Not a false sense of hope, but hope nevertheless:
“I think from the beginning my attitude was that we have to give this country – I know how bad it was. All you have to do is look at what was going on in China. It was devastation. Look at the numbers from China, those initial numbers coming out from China.
But, I read an article today, which was very interesting. They say ‘we wish President Trump would give more bad news. Give bad news.’ I’m not about bad news. I want to give people hope. I want to give people a feeling that we all have a chance.
I mean, when you saw the numbers … and you’re saying 120,000 people. You mean that’s good? 120,000 dead people within a short period of time. I want to give people a feeling of hope.
I could be very negative and say ‘wait a minute. Those numbers are terrible, this is going to be horrible. This is a horrible thing.”
After Acosta interrupted a couple of different times, Trump got it back on track:
“I want to be positive. I don’t want to be negative. I’m a positive person. Somebody said ‘oh, I wish he’d be more negative.’ Well, this is really easy to be more negative about. But I want to give people hope, too. You know, I’m a cheerleader for the country. We’re going through the worst thing that the country’s probably ever seen.”
Jim Acosta to President Trump:
"Is there any fairness to the criticism that you lulled Americans into a false sense of security when you were saying things like "it's going to go away?" pic.twitter.com/Blz2WEnDON
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 31, 2020
As I’ve written before, multiple polls confirm that, despite the media/left’s best efforts, the American people approve of how Trump is handling the pandemic. They’re choosing to be hopeful that we can beat this thing. There is a lot of fear there, to be sure, but without hope, many feel lost. So they’re latching on to the promise of a new and better day ahead.
Through all the chaos and controversy, Trump understands that.
He’s doing what any president would and should do in the midst of a crisis. Give people a sense of hope, a belief that we’ll come out of the crisis stronger than ever before. Bush did it after 9/11, and that’s what Trump is doing right now.
The media repeatedly dinging him over it is a really bad look, but the media is going to do media things – Acosta especially, so the beat goes on.