It took a global pandemic and a national health crisis for the White House to temporarily restore daily press briefings after more than a year.
The purpose of the briefings is to update the public on the virus's spread and which potentially lifesaving measures are necessary for Americans to take in order to keep themselves and their families safe.
Trump either didn't get this memo or just can't help himself.
The President—ever consistent—has used the podium to lie, berate reporters, directly contradict himself within minutes, tout unproven remedies, and block medical experts from relaying accurate information.
At least one media outlet stopped airing the live briefings all together, choosing instead to summarize them for its listeners with actual news updates instead of misinformation and petty attacks.
Now, the conservative-leaning editorial board of the Wall Street Journal urged Trump to make better use of the vital briefings in a scathing op-ed.
After an anecdote about a Trump voter who announced he'd stopped watching the briefings, the piece reads, in part:
"[S]ometime in the last three weeks Mr. Trump seems to have concluded that the briefings could be a showcase for him. Perhaps they substitute in his mind for the campaign rallies he can no longer hold because of the risks. Perhaps he resented the media adulation that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been receiving for his daily show. Whatever the reason, the briefings are now all about the President."
They weren't done.
"Mr. Trump opens each briefing by running through a blizzard of facts and numbers showing what the government is doing—this many tests, that many masks, so many ventilators going from here to there, and what a great job he's doing. Then Mr. Trump opens the door for questions, and the session deteriorates into a dispiriting brawl between the President and his antagonists in the White House press corps."
Angry at the WSJ's skewering of the pettiness displayed in the briefings, the President responded by...bragging about his television ratings.
The Wall Street Journal always “forgets” to mention that the ratings for the White House Press Briefings are “throu… https://t.co/nz1j7iy8K7— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1586460900.0
The tweet came on the same day that the number of Americans unemployed in the face of the pandemic rose to nearly 17 million, with over 16,000 deaths due to the virus.
People were disturbed, though not surprised, that the President only proved the op-ed's point as people continue to die.
@realDonaldTrump @nytimes Glad the 16,000+ dead Americans could get you some good ratings.— Brian Tyler Cohen (@Brian Tyler Cohen)1586461073.0
@realDonaldTrump @nytimes 14k dead, 380k sick, 16 million unemployed — and all you care about are your TV ratings.… https://t.co/GLDv4THqvw— Kevin M. Kruse (@Kevin M. Kruse)1586461885.0
@realDonaldTrump @nytimes People are dying, and he is worried that he's not getting credit for beating the Bachelor… https://t.co/0aD1TcMT91— Walter Shaub (@Walter Shaub)1586463185.0
@realDonaldTrump @nytimes You’ve tweeted several times now about your ratings. You sent your best wishes to Boris.… https://t.co/WBE3RBaS3Z— Helen Kennedy (@Helen Kennedy)1586461503.0
#COVID19 deaths here in NYC are also 'through the roof'. There are things more important than ratings right now. https://t.co/Odk10qpdXE— Craig Spencer MD MPH (@Craig Spencer MD MPH)1586461164.0
His pettiness knows no bounds.
this guy is nuts. like wtf. Almost 800 people died in New York in a single day and he's talking about bachelor rati… https://t.co/3fCBe9PyiF— Jonathan Morrison 🙋🏻♂️ (@Jonathan Morrison 🙋🏻♂️)1586468436.0
Sad. Imagine thinking about TV ratings right now. Imagine thinking those ratings indicate an interest in you, rathe… https://t.co/pCDUHhm7yP— Stephen Hayes (@Stephen Hayes)1586470880.0
Trump is mad because the WSJ editorial board called the briefings "boring," not terribly informative, and political… https://t.co/plNH7CqdQ4— Josh Barro (@Josh Barro)1586461594.0
Stop airing this psychopath's rallies. He's telling you to stop airing them. It couldn't be clearer. They are not p… https://t.co/jAzbxPvai1— Ken Tremendous (@Ken Tremendous)1586467350.0
If you'd like to change the channel, make sure you're registered to vote in November.
For a deeper look into Trump's character from those who know it firsthand, check out A Very Stable Genius, available here.