On Thursday night, after reports revealed President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had contracted COVID-19, CNN’s Don Lemon made comments attacking the president, including this: “In large part, it’s his own dereliction is partly to blame for this. He chose to go out to rallies. He chose to downplay masks. He chose to not social distance and — and call it a hoax…[I]t’s horrible that the President has this, but he chose to handle the situation this way…Was this inevitable?”
Lemon using the “hoax” charge against the president flies in the face of an AP fact check criticizing Joe Biden tweeting a video mashup suggesting Trump branded the virus a hoax. AP noted, “At the rally featured in the video, Trump actually said the phrases ‘the coronavirus’ and ‘this is their new hoax’ at separate points.”
Trump actually stated, “They tried the impeachment hoax. … And this is their new hoax.”
AP continued, “Asked at a news conference the next day to clarify his remarks, Trump made clear he was not referring to the coronavirus itself as a hoax. ‘No, no, no.'”
Trump added, “‘Hoax’ referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody, because we’ve done such a good job. The hoax is on them, not — I’m not talking about what’s happening here. I’m talking what they’re doing. That’s the hoax.” He continued: “Certainly not referring to this. How could anybody refer to this? This is very serious stuff.”
As Curtis Houck noted at Newsbusters, at another moment Lemon stated to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, “Is this a moment of reckoning for the president and this administration? For all of the — all of the pretending or looking the other way and trying to convince people otherwise of the science, for whatever reason — whether it was for, to make sure that he was re-elected, to make sure that he had high standing with the public, or just to — for whatever reason. Because of the economy.”
Lemon added, “Is this now a moment of reckoning that — yes, this is real. It is not a hoax. It doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. It is time to take this seriously, and all the preventative measures that the scientists, the doctors, like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, have been touting for so long?”
Lemon attacked conservative media this way:
A big part of the administration – an arm of the administration, quite frankly, has been conservative media. And as I understand now, well, what I am trying to understand is how they are going to portray this now. Are they going to continue on with the messaging of the President and carrying the water of the President by downplaying this virus or will they now turn to scientists and not, you know, Dr. Atlas – the Dr. Atlas’s of the world who continue to promote such thing as herd immunity and so on and so forth and to downplay masks. Are we going to hear more from the Faucis and Birxs of the world rather than the Atlas and the President – President’s wishful thinking of this power?
Lemon was not alone in targeting President Trump; as The Daily Wire reported earlier on Friday:
Ex-staffers for former President Barack Obama and for the failed presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren appeared to mock and attack President Donald Trump on Thursday night following the news that he had contracted COVID-19.
Zara Rahim, a former Obama administration official who also worked on Clinton’s presidential campaign, appeared to reference the president’s diagnosis on Twitter, writing: “It’s been against my moral identity to tweet this for the past four years, but, I hope he dies.”
Rahim also retweeted someone who wrote “No” in response to the following tweet from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow: “God bless the president and the first lady. If you pray, please pray for their speedy and complete recovery — and for everyone infected, everywhere. This virus is horrific and merciless — no one would wish its wrath on anyone. We must get its spread under control. Enough.”
Former Warren campaign staffer Max Berger wrote, “Trump did this to himself. He inflicted this same misfortune upon millions of others. He’s a corrupt, white supremacist criminal who’s responsible for more American deaths than 9/11 and the wars in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and WWI combined. No one should feel bad for him.”