A major topic at the White House press briefing on Wednesday was President Donald Trump’s plans to hold an indoor rally in Tulsa on Saturday amid concerns of further spread of the coronavirus.
CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta asked Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany whether the president will take responsibility if people get sick.
McEnany said that the campaign will be taking precautions such as temperature checks, hand sanitizers and masks.
But Acosta continued to press McEnany on how rally goers will be able to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines on social distancing. “They are not going to be able to practice social distancing at a rally with thousands of people,” Acosta said.
“It is the personal choice of individuals as to what to do, but it we want to talk about internal coherence, I believe that the media needs to work on internal coherence.”
She then held up a copy of the New York Post, with the cover headline “Sick Hypocrisy,” showing crowds at recent Black Lives Matter protests and Trump rallies. She noted that it showed that the media deemed protesting “OK” and Trump rallies “not OK” when it came to concerns over the coronavirus.
“I think that the American people have taken notice when, for instance, NBC tweets at 4:05 PM on June 14, ‘Rally for black trans lives draws packed crowds Brooklyn Museum plaza,’ seeming to be lauding the protest, and less than an hour and a half later they say ‘President Trump plans to rally but public health experts are questioning that decision.’ CBS had a similar, logically inconsistent tweet.”
Acosta then pressed her again on whether the president would take responsibility for the health of the rally goers. As he continued to pose the question, she said, “I have taken five of your questions. Work on your internal cohesion and get back to me.”
Other reporters also brought up health concerns at the rally, but McEnany continued to complain about what she views as a double standard.
“The lockdown protesters were widely condemned by the media,” she said. “They were protesting the lockdown. All of the sudden this protest for Black Lives Matter was lauded. It makes no sense. Ideology is driving the line of questioning in many of these cases, when it should be, if you are focused on science, you should be out there asking these same questions about the protests.”
NBC News did not ignore health concerns over those engaged in the protests, even though it may not have been a dominant theme in coverage. On June 6, for instance, NBC Nightly News, featured a segment in which Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that “the reasons for demonstrating are valid, and yet the demonstration itself puts one at an additional risk.”
McEnany usually comes to the briefings prepared with a critique of media coverage, going so far as to chide reporters for ignoring certain stories, like those involving Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser. She ended the briefing by telling the reporters, “I hope we start seeing more consistent headlines.”
The briefing was marred by audio problems, which gave a strong echo to her words, as if they were being spoken in a large cave. The audio was eventually corrected.
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