CNN anchor John King lost it and cussed on air after President Donald Trump called MSNBC reporter Peter Alexander a “terrible reporter” during Friday afternoon’s press briefing.
King came to Alexander’s defense, labeling the president’s remarks a “bulls**t attack on fake news.”
“I sat in that room for just shy of 10 years — it was a perfectly valid question,” King said as he opened the segment. “What the president did to Peter Alexander is reprehensible.”
King then noted the president’s propensity to lash out at liberal media outlets like CNN and NBC for their disparaging coverage of him.
“This is a Trump trademark, it was striking that this came — forgive me, bulls**t on fake news came — just moments after the secretary of state said the American people need to be careful about where they get their information and go to sources they can trust,” he said.
“I get there are at times disagreements, there are at times contention between politicians and reporters — that was a 100% legitimate question with no hype, no shade, no bias — he just wanted to attack,” King added.
Moments earlier, during the daily White House press briefing, Trump and Alexander were involved in a disagreement over what level of optimism the president should exude to the American people when discussing the possibility that a promising treatment exists for COVID-19.
Trump, along with the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, announced that a drug used to treat Malaria would be fast-tracked for testing by the Food and Drug Administration to examine its efficacy in treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus.
Trump and Fauci expressed optimism at the possibility that the drug could help infected Americans, though Fauci warned that nothing is guaranteed and that evidence is currently lacking.
It was Trump’s unabashed optimism that Alexander took issue with.
“Is it possible that your impulse to put a positive spin on things may be giving Americans a false sense of hope?” Alexander asked.
Trump, clearly annoyed by the question, acknowledged Fauci’s claims that “it may work and it may not work,” but maintained that he feels hopeful.
“I feel good about it,” he said. “That’s all it is, just a feeling. I’m a smart guy. I feel good about it.”
That wasn’t good enough for Alexander, who pressed the issue further (and this is where most of the mainstream media outlets are starting the clip)
“So what do you Americans are scared, though — nearly 200 dead, 14,000 who are sick, millions, as you witnessed, who are scared right now — what do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?” Alexander asked.
“I say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I say,” Trump responded. “I think that’s a very nasty question and I think that it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.
“The American people are looking for answers and they are looking for hope, and you’re doing sensationalism,” he added.
[embedded content] Trump Berates Peter Alexander Over Coronavirus Question: ‘You’re A Terrible Reporter’ | NBC News youtu.be
Later in the briefing, Fauci approached the podium again in response to a question and noted that he didn’t see much of a difference between his outlook and the president’s. He simply reiterated his claim that more testing was needed.