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Trump Corrects Jim Acosta for Calling Coronavirus Briefings “Happy Talk”: “We’re Talking About Death”


This is CNN.

It’s no secret that Jim Acosta and President Trump have had a tumultuous relationship.

Today was no different, but Trump called out Acosta for his coarseness in discussing the COVID-19 pandemic.

CNN’s Acosta accused the press briefings of being “happy talk” briefings. He continued to accuse the president and the task force of painting a “rosy picture” of what is happening around the country.

But President Trump quickly dismissed the question and struck back.

While Acosta suggested the briefings were “happy talk,” President Trump said, “We’re talking about death.”

“These are the saddest news conferences that I’ve ever had,” the president added.

See the exchange between the president and CNN’s Acosta below:

The President of the United States has a difficult job. 

He must accurately portray the severity of the crisis to the nation, but he must also provide hope through our coordinated response.

Trump has taken decisive action to protect all Americans.

Before the virus even began breaking out in community spread across the nation, Trump secured our borders to help buy the nation more time.

He understand the severity of the crisis.

But that didn't stop Acosta from attempting to paint the daily briefings as "happy talk."

Fox News has more on Trump and Acosta's clash:

President Trump had another combative exchange with CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta on Friday after the reporter referred to the daily coronavirus press briefings as "happy talk."

"Mr. President, we hear from a lot of people who see these briefings as sort of 'happy talk' briefings," Acosta said.

"No happy talk today," Trump quickly responded.

"Some of the officials paint a rosy picture of what is happening around the country," Acosta continued. "If you look at some of these questions -- do we have enough masks? No. Do we have enough tests? No. Do we have enough PPE [personal protective equipment]? No."

"Why would you say no? The answer is yes," the president responded. "Who said no to that?"

After Acosta couldn't answer Trump's question directly, the president dismissed a lot of the news coverage of the outbreak as "fake news," something the CNN reporter quickly pushed back on, pointing to governors who have appeared the network.

"Yeah, depending on your air. They always say that because otherwise, you aren't going to put them on," Trump said of CNN.

The president then pivoted back to Acosta's reference to the briefings as "happy talk."

"This is not 'happy talk.' Maybe it's 'happy talk' for you, it's not 'happy talk' for me," Trump told Acosta. "We're talking about death. We're talking about the greatest economy in the world -- one day I have to close it off and we did the right thing because maybe it would've been 2 million people dying instead of whatever that final number will be... There's nothing happy about it, Jim. This is sad talk. These are the saddest news conferences that I've ever had. I don't like doing them. You know why? Because I'm talking about death."

Instead of trying to insult the president, perhaps Acosta should ask relevant questions that a journalist would ask.

For examples, what are the criteria for reopening parts of the country?

Why were the models so off from their original predictions?

How do we know that we can trust the updated models now?

Instead of asking questions that many Americans want to know, Acosta appears to be playing to the Democratic base.

Indeed, the daily pressers are sad news conferences.

This has been predicted and turned out to be the worst week of the pandemic in the United States so far.

Every day, our leaders including the president have to address the nation with updated figures that include the death toll.

But regardless of how dark the news can seem, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Early indicators suggest that we have been successful in flattening the curve.

Deadline reports that Trump told Acosta that the decision to reopen the economy will be the biggest decision of his life:

Trump also told Acosta of having to face the decision of whether to “reopen” the U.S. economy, perhaps after the current social distancing guidelines end on April 30, and having to weigh whether it is the right time to do so.

He later said that he faces what he called “the biggest decision of my life because I have to say, “OK, let’s go. This is what we’re going to do.”

By the end of the five minutes, he chided Acosta for even asking the question.

“You shouldn’t be asking that kind of question,” he said. “You should say, ‘You know what, it’s been really incredible what’s been happening.'”

Trump has been aware not just the ratings for his briefings but the reaction to them.

The briefing was one of Trump’s longest since the coronavirus crisis started. Less than 24 hours earlier, he appeared for only about 20 minutes at an evening briefing, as even some of his supporters and allies have suggested that they be truncated.

As Friday’s session went past 90 minutes, Trump turned to the reporters gathered and asked them whether he should continue.

He decided to keep taking questions but told the reporters, “You’re not going to criticize me that the conference was too long? You know … yesterday I left short. [They say] ‘It was too short.’ If I stay too long they say it was too long. Some day we are going to get it just right.”

Indeed, the decision to reopen the economy will be one that is made with many factors in mind.

Instead of trying to undermine the president, perhaps reporters like Acosta should ask meaningful questions that add to the conversation, not result in petty political arguments. 

We are all united against the same, invisible enemy: COVID-19.


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