During a recent press briefing, a bold reporter asked Donald Trump, flat out, why he lied to the American people by repeatedly downplaying the danger posed by the pandemic. Not surprisingly, the President immediately launched into a full blown tantrum on national television.
The incident occurred when ABC's Jon Karl used his brief time in the presidential Q & A to ask the following very simple, very direct inquiry:
"Why did you lie to the American people? And why should we trust what you have to say now?"
Karl's question came on the heels of some bombshell reporting in a new book by Bob Woodward, famously known as one of the key contributors to the discovery of the nitty gritty details of the Watergate scandal during the Nixon era.
In the new book, aptly titled Rage, Woodward revealed that in multiple conversations he had with Trump as far back as early February and on through March, the President explained that the virus was "deadly stuff" and that he wanted "to play it down, because [he didn't] want to create a panic."
So when Karl confronted Trump with lying to the country, Trump erupted into a rambling attack on Woodward, Karl, something about phraseology and the entire ABC news network.
"That's a terrible question and phraseology. I didn't lie. What I said is we have to be calm, we can't be panicked."
"These are a series of phone calls, mostly phone calls. Bob Woodward is somebody that I respect just from hearing the name for many, many years."
"Not knowing too much about his work, not caring about his work. But I thought it would be interesting to talk to him for a period of calls. So we did that. I don't know if it's good or bad. I don't know if the book is good or bad."
"Certainly if he thought that was a bad statement, he would have reported it because he thinks that, you know, you don't want to have anybody that is going to suffer medically because of some fact. He didn't report it because he didn't think it was bad. Nobody thought it was bad."
"Wait a minute. And your question, the way you phrased that is such a disgrace. It's a disgrace to ABC television network, it's a disgrace to your employer. And that's your answer."
.@jonkarl: "Why did you lie to the American people? Why should we trust what you have to say now?" President Trump… https://t.co/2ZW65sQot7— CSPAN (@CSPAN)1599768126.0
When Karl pressed Trump again, the President re-framed his previous attitude towards the virus as confident leadership.
"What I went out and said was very simple. I want to show a level of confidence and I want to show strength as a leader and I want to show that our country is going to be fine one way or the other."
"Whether you have one person....we shouldn't lose any because this shouldn't happen, it's China's fault."
Trump then explained how much worse it could have been.
According to the most recent statistics, over 192,000 people in the United States have died from the virus.
Twitter remained rather unconvinced by Trump's defense.
@cspan @jonkarl The President of the United States does not sound like a person smart enough to lead the country. This is disgraceful.— Ronaldo Davis (@Ronaldo Davis)1599768508.0
@cspan @jonkarl Phraseology????? Is that a word? It’s not even a terrible question.... it’s a GREAT question. And i… https://t.co/bObfWFKMv5— Mel D. (@Mel D.)1599801648.0
@cspan @jonkarl The only truthful thing he said in this entire disastrous monologue was "don't give me any credit."… https://t.co/W1YsP3alvS— Tramp O. Line (@Tramp O. Line)1599793245.0
@cspan @jonkarl That is the wrong use of Phraseology, I believe you meant phrasing. https://t.co/nAuIpcyp9I— Dr. Lafe Purvis Ph.D (🖕 WSJ op-ed) (@Dr. Lafe Purvis Ph.D (🖕 WSJ op-ed))1599768619.0
Many applauded Karl for his direct questioning.
Raise your hand if you appreciate Jon Karl for calling out Trump for lying to the American people. 🙋♂️— Chip Franklin InsideTheBeltway.com (@Chip Franklin InsideTheBeltway.com)1599771939.0
@cspan @jonkarl Bravo! Keep asking the questions that need to be asked and should have been asked for the last four years— Kathy Normandin (@Kathy Normandin)1599776888.0
Stay tuned for future press conferences where, undoubtedly, more rattled responses await.