President Donald Trump continued to display an unnervingly tone-deaf perspective on the mounting coronavirus threat in the U.S. by bragging about his TV ratings in not one — but five — tweets Sunday.
The former star of reality program “The Apprentice” boasted that the “ratings” of his news conferences are as high as the finale of “The Bachelor” and “Monday Night Football.” That drives the “Lamestream Media ... CRAZY,” he wrote. Then, like a commercial for an upcoming TV show, Trump added: “See you at 5:00 P.M.!” — referring to Sunday’s press briefing.
Trump appeared to miss the key point of The New York Times article he quoted about the viewership ratings. The story Wednesday explored the increasing debate among networks about whether or not to cover the president’s briefings live because they’re peppered with falsehoods and misleading information about COVID-19.
Trump’s followers on Twitter were stunned that the president would brag about his TV ratings as COVID-19 cases in the nation soared to more than 140,000 and the death toll neared 2,400 Sunday evening. Trump’s top health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Sunday that the death toll could hit 200,000.
George Conway, spouse of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, quipped that the president should consider giving some ratings credit to the coronavirus pandemic — as fearful Americans tune in to see what, if anything, is being done to protect them. Princeton History Professor Kevin Kruse snidely noted that 110 million Americans tuned in to watch Richard Nixon’s resignation speech.
“This is not about your ratings, Mr. President!” former Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett tweeted. “This is not a reality tv show. For countless Americans, this is our reality.”
Even Brit Hume of Fox News, who often has the president’s back, was caught off guard.