The Slatest

Trump Brags About His TV Ratings as Coronavirus Death Toll Keeps Climbing

President Donald Trump speaks at a mic in the Rose Garden
President Donald Trump at the White House on Sunday. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

As the coronavirus crisis continues engulfing the United States, President Donald Trump thought that the best use of his time on Sunday afternoon was to go on a tweetstorm against the media that included patting himself on the back for the TV ratings of his news conferences lately. It all started with the commander in chief blasting the “Lamestream Media” and claiming that the public does not approve of how they have been covering the coronavirus crisis.

Trump then went on to cite a New York Times article, writing that his news conferences are receiving “Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers.” (That wasn’t a direct quote, but the article does mention both of those.) The president then went on to selectively quote from the piece by Michael Grynbaum. But he focused on the ratings part and completely neglected the crux of the piece that questioned whether networks should carry the president’s news conferences live, considering he spreads so much misinformation about the COVID-19 outbreak.

Many were quick to criticize Trump for his focus on TV ratings as the death toll from the virus kept climbing. The number of confirmed cases in the United States rose to at least 135,738 on Sunday, and the death toll increased to 2,391. In New York, the number of deaths shot up 237 from a day earlier to a total of 965, while the number of confirmed cases soared 7,200 to 59,513. “This is not about your ratings, Mr. President!” Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to former President Barack Obama, tweeted. “This is not a reality tv show. For countless Americans this is our reality.” Joe Lockhart, who was a press secretary for former President Bill Clinton, said Trump “said the quiet part out loud again” and called it “SAD to see a President acting or even thinking this way.” CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out that Trump was tweeting about ratings shortly after Dr. Anthony Fauci said COVID-19 deaths in the United States could reach as high as 200,000.