CNN, MSNBC Cut Away From Trump Coronavirus Briefing

Both CNN and MSNBC opted to skip parts of Trump’s coronavirus briefing Wednesday. The networks chose to skip and criticize portions of the conference where Trump discussed progress on the wall along the U.S-Mexico border.

John King of CNN then went on to express his personal distaste for what he was seeing.

“When you are an incumbent president, to bring that into a briefing in the middle of a pandemic, the day after the incredibly sobering news the administration rightfully delivered to the American people yesterday, is shameless and it’s political.” King said “The president has other opportunities to do this. There are 24 hours in a day. He has all the buildings of the government still at his disposal.”

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd also ripped President Trump, saying “If President Trump had important coronavirus news to tell us, it must not have trumped this.”

Per Deadline, the news networks have been under some pressure, even by some of their on-air talent, to stop covering the coronavirus briefings live, arguing that they have, at times, taken on the rhetoric of one of Trump’s campaign rallies or that it is next-to-impossible to fact-check the president in real time. The times that CNN and MSNBC have cut away also have come with some pushback from White House officials and the Republican National Committee.

But King argued that while Trump can use his bully pulpit to his advantage in an election year, as his predecessors have, “this is different.”

“This is a pandemic,” he said, “where the American people are being told 100,000, maybe 200,000 of our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens, could perish in his pandemic. You cannot abuse a coronavirus task force briefing for other measures.”

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Attorney General Bill Barr, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and some military brass joined Trump for the anti-drug portion of the news conference, and White House Coronavirus Task Force members Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx and Vice President Mike Pence took the stage when the others exited.