A day after President Donald Trump spent much of his coronavirus press briefing attacking the press and airing grievances against perceived enemies, CNN anchor Jake Tapper delivered an on-air message to the president: do you have a plan to get the nation back to normal or are you just interested in pleasing your fans and Fox News?
At the end of Sunday’s broadcast of CNN’s State of the Union, Tapper said he would like to “speak directly to one person known to watch this show or at least clips of the show,” adding that he knows Trump is eager for the country to regain normalcy.
The CNN anchor went on to ask the president if he had a plan to combat the pandemic that has now resulted in over 8,500 dead Americans and hundreds of thousands of confirmed cases.
“Is there a plan for widespread testing of every American so as to isolate the virus the way other countries have done?” Tapper wondered aloud. “When will there be enough tests for that to happen? How will they be administered? Who will pay for the tests and the results? Who will notify us as to whether we have tested positive or not?”
The veteran journalist turned his attention to the shortages of life-saving medical supplies and protective gear that hospitals and medical workers are experiencing nationwide, pointing out that governors and mayors are currently forced to bid against each other to get these supplies.
“This is escalating the prices and causing confusion and unnecessary bidding competition,” Tapper declared. “Is there a plan to stop that? What is it? What about ventilators? New York City Mayor de Blasio said today would be the day his city could run out. Governor Edwards said his state could run out Thursday. Is there a plan to expedite the manufacturer of ventilators?”
Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly insisted that governors sounding the alarm on their desperate need for ventilators are vastly overestimating, specifically dismissing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call for up to 40,000 ventilators.
“40,000, think of it,” Trump exclaimed. “40,000. It’s not possible. They won’t need that many.”
After questioning whether Trump has fully utilized the Defense Production Act and if the public will have enough masks now that the CDC is recommending people wear them when leaving the house, Tapper told the president that Americans weren’t interested in his personal grievances.
"Is there a plan? Please, Mr. President, the American people, they need answers to these questions,” he pleaded. “They are less interested in your popularity on Facebook. Thousands of Americans are in mourning. They’re horrified when you make leering illusions to your history with models while discussing projection models of mass American deaths.”
“Attacking governors and mayors and journalists for asking questions—that might please your fans, it doesn’t save one life,” Tapper concluded. “This is not about winning a news cycle on Fox, please. The American people right now need someone to explain what is going to be done to get us out of this. It’s a moment that requires leadership, it requires honest information, it requires empathy, and it requires a plan. Do you have one?”