“What do you say to Americans who are scared?”

Today, during a press briefing at the White House, Donald Trump was lobbed a softball by NBC’s Peter Alexander. “What do you say to Americans who are scared?”, Alexander asked. Any other president in the history of our nation, if asked a question like this during a time of crisis, would take the opportunity to talk reassuringly about our resiliency as a nation, reminding us that we’ve been challenged before, and that, somehow, by the grace of God, and thanks to our indomitable spirit, we’ve always managed to persevere. Donald Trump, however, didn’t take the bait. He didn’t take the opportunity to show empathy for the American people, or talk about the emotional discussions he and his wife have had about the virus with their own young son. He didn’t talk about finding solace in his faith. He didn’t remind us that, as the country that put a man on the moon, we can do absolutely anything that we put our minds to. No, he took the opportunity, for some inexplicable reason, to attack the reporter who asked the question. When asked, “What do you say to Americans who are scared?”, Donald Trump responded by saying, “I say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I say.”

Throughout history, we’ve been relatively fortunate, in that, during times of great change, when the future of our republic was in doubt, we’ve somehow managed to have leaders that were up to the challenge. We had men like Washington, and Lincoln, and Roosevelt, who were perfectly suited to confront the problems of their times. I suspect, in some cases, they came to the office prepared for the challenges that they’d eventually face, and, in others, they were forced by circumstances to evolve. And I think we were all hoping that, when the time came, and Trump was tested, he’d find a way to become the type of leader we needed in the moment. We hoped that the office would change him. That clearly hasn’t happened, though. He’s the same insecure, angry, petulant narcissist that he was three years ago, only now he’s absolutely terrified as well. And that’s a hell of a combination.

One last thing… Kudos to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins for not just letting this pass unchecked.

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  1. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 20, 2020 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Softball? You are taking it out of context. Trump was annoyed because Alexander first suggested that Trump was intentionally trying to give American’s a false sense of security; he then followed it up by suggesting (with his question) that Trump was not making American’s feel secure. Alexander was not really asking a question. Alexander was certainly not asking a softball question. Alexander was using his question to convey what he himself thinks—that is, Alexander thinks American’s should not feel secure. The role of a journalist is not for the journalist to convey their feelings. Why should anyone care what Alexander thinks or feels? Trump’s criticism of him as a reporter was spot on.

    Come on. Put your detective cap on and think your way through this basic stuff.

  2. iRobert
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    An intelligent and emotionally mature person in a position of leadership knows how to turn every question into an opportunity to unite and inspire.

    Trump is scared and for good reason. He’s not up to the task. If he had any sense, or listened to anyone who has any sense, he’d turn press conferences over to someone he finds most inspiring and uniting. He won’t do that because of his pathetic ego.

  3. Meta
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Rolling Stone: “Broadcasting Trump’s Coronavirus Briefings Live Is a Danger to Public Health”

    It took practically the entire 2016 presidential campaign for many in the media, including the powerful TV networks, to realize that Donald Trump’s casual attitude toward truth and facts required a new approach to covering him.

    The first step was obvious: Stop airing his rallies live. The Trump rally was — and remains — a uniquely dangerous blend of misinformation, fear-mongering, grievance-airing, schoolyard taunting, and the occasional incitements to violence. (“And you know what? The audience swung back. And I thought it was very, very appropriate. He was swinging, he was hitting people, and the audience hit back. And that’s what we need a little bit more of.”) And during the 2016 campaign, TV networks and other news outlets broadcast Trump’s rallies as they happened, in the moment, without filter or editing. By one measure, during the 2016 campaign, Trump received $6 billion of the best kind of free media a candidate could ask for.

    Eventually, media organizations came to their senses and put in place any number of creative approaches to countering Trump’s lies and bluster. They cut away from his rallies to correct misinformation. They used their chyrons (those text boxes at the bottom of the TV screen) to fact-check him in real-time. In some cases, they stopped airing his rallies altogether.

    Now, in the middle of the new coronavirus pandemic, news organizations risk making the same mistake all over again. Instead of the Trump campaign rally, it is the president’s daily press briefing about the pandemic that poses a unique threat to reliable information and public trust in the middle of a global and fast-spreading crisis.

    Trump’s Friday press briefing put this circus on full display.

    Asked a straightforward question about how he would assure fearful Americans in this moment, Trump attacked the reporter who asked the question, calling him “terrible” and his question “nasty.”

    Asked about a possible coronavirus treatment called chloroquine, Trump said: “It may work, it may not work. … I feel good about it. It’s just a feeling. I’m a smart guy.” Afterward, Dr. Tony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, corrected Trump’s remarks when he explained that the government didn’t know if chloroquine was safe, adding, “I like to prove things first.”

    Asked about news stories that revealed how Republican Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) dumped millions of dollars in stocks just before the coronavirus pandemic tanked the stock market, Trump responded by calling the Republican senators “very honorable people” and mentioning by name the only Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who sold stock in the same time period. When asked a follow-up question about why he seemed to think the Republican senators should not face investigations, Trump snapped at the reporter for questioning him about the Republicans and not Feinstein.

    Trump denigrated the State Department by calling it the “Deep State Department.” He complained that he and his coronavirus task force “haven’t been given the credit we’ve deserved.” He complained that his administration had “inherited” from the Obama administration “an obsolete, broken system.”

    To be clear, all of that happened in just one briefing.

    Read more:

  4. Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Yes, FF, Alexander asked difficult questions. That’s what the press is supposed to do. That’s the role of the free press in a democracy. But, after asking those questions, he teed up a softball for Donald Trump, a softball that any other president in our nation’s history would have absolutely crushed. Trump, however, couldn’t bring himself to do it. He couldn’t answer the question, “What do you say to Americans who are scared?” And that’s absolutely appalling. Its fucking grotesque.

  5. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink


    The fact that there are many MMaynard types willing to deceptively shape MMeaning toward their shared agenda does not add any veracity, whatsoever, to their individual flawed and out of context reports. Lies don’t magically become true because multiple people happen to be telling the same lie.

    Your method for arriving at conclusions is not very Columbo-like.

  6. Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    As the Rolling Stone article above notes, this was also a press briefing in which the president of the United States, during a time of historic crisis, referred to his State Department as the “Deep State Department.” I get that, for whatever reasons, some of you are drawn to this malignant narcissist and failed businessman, but he’s really not well suited to this job. And people are dying as a result. A lot of you used to be outraged at the idea of Obamacare, saying that it would bring “death panels” to the United States. [It didn’t, of course. It expanded access.] Well, that ‘s what’s going to happen here in America, as ventilators and hospital beds become scarce. News broke yesterday that Trump was warned of this eventuality as early as January, and he took no action. I’d love to see some of you who rallied against the imaginary Obama “death panels” to show some concern over the real ones on our horizon.

  7. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    The questions were not questions, taken together they were statements. I personally wish Trump would have added something inspiring after he exposed the reporter but he didn’t. Exposing the reporter as a bitch-ass-divider in a time when we need unity was better than nothing. It is certainly better than what you try to do in your write ups. I think if you look closer at your own writing you find the grotesque. I see it. Others too. You are a smart guy but have a lot you need to figure out.

  8. Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    And what is that “shared agenda”, FF? What is it that we want that so upsets you? Is it that we expect a president to be presidential? Is it that we expect for a president, when given a briefing about the threat of the coronavirus to upend our medical infrastructure and economy, actually lead?

    I get that this Alexander exchange upsets you, as Alexander hurt the president’s feelings, setting off all of his internal grievance alarms. I get that you think it was unfair. You think this bad reporter set up the president, manipulating him into saying something stupid. The fact remains, however, the president was asked, “What do you say to Americans who are scared?”, and he responded by saying, “I say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I say.” And that’s fucked up, dude. There’s no excuse.

    Maybe next time, elect someone who isn’t so fragile. [If he can’t stand up to Alexander, how in the hell can we expect him to stand up to world leaders like Putin?]

  9. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Question:And what is that “shared agenda”, FF?

    Answer: Good question. The shared agenda was delegitimize, by almost any means necessary, and impeach.The shared agenda now is delegitimize, no matter the cost, and defeat Trump in November.

    Question:What is it that we want that so upsets you?

    Answer: Sorry. You are asking a dishonest question. It is cheap rhetoric to try to pretend I am criticizing your individual or shared “wants”. “Agenda” implies concrete action toward achieving ones wants. I am criticizing the veracity of your reporting, as a concrete act, toward achieving your agenda. That is, the truthfulness, or lack thereof, in your attempts to achieve your wants, through shady reporting, is what is in question.

    Question: Is it that we expect a president to be presidential?

    Answer: Again, dishonest question. It is unavoidable for individuals to *want* their president to fit their subjective definitions of what “presidential” means to them. It’s tautological. Why did you ask the question though? Maybe the question itself was an act of attempted manipulation? You don’t really think I am trying to debate the necessary fact that different individuals want their president to be “presidential” according to their standards, do you? I challenged your report of what happened. And now I am challenging your report on my initial challenge.

    Question: Is it that we expect for a president, when given a briefing about the threat of the coronavirus to upend our medical infrastructure and economy, actually lead?

    Answer: Dude, do you not see the pattern of your manipulative rhetoric ? You are trying to pretend that I am objecting toward your want for a different kind of “leadership” as you define it in the abstract. “Leading” in concrete reality necessarily is grounded, by definition, practically and theoretically, in an element of actual support (passive or direct); to the minimum extent that the support is sufficient as the condition for the grounds of possibility for leadership to occur in the first place.

    I know you think Trump is an idiot but maybe you are the idiot? Trump exposes the reporter for doing something similar with his questions that you are trying to do with your questions just now. Like I said, the reporters questions were not real questions. Your questions are not real either. I am questioning whether or not your attempts at undermining of the president, through innacurare/ out of context reporting, which twists meaning (in a time of national crisis that calls for more unity) is reckless, selfish, irresponsible, narcissistic, not in-line with democratic ideals, and counterproductive for our mutual survival.

  10. Demetrius
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Trump doesn’t exhibit normal human emotions like empathy. He’s a classic narcissist who’s only capable of viewing every situation, every event, through the prism of “How does this affect me?”

    The dark period of history we’re about to live through is only just beginning, and what we need now more than anything is tactical leadership (the ability to marshal the nation’s talent and resources in creative and effective ways), along with moral leadership (the ability to provide hope and inspiration, and to bring people together around common goals).

    We are facing (simultaneously) an historic, deadly pandemic AND an unprecedented economic depression … and we are doing it while hobbled by a broken political culture, and while lacking anything approaching competent leadership.

    At this point, it is pretty clear that no one in Washington (or Wall Street) is going to “save us.”

    It is time to turn off the daily briefing circus, tune out Trump – and begin focusing on what we can do locally, and together, to meet these challenges.

    Perhaps we could begin by stopping the inane tit-for-tat comment wars, and spend more time trying to come up with positive, constructive solutions to help our families, friends, and neighbors.

  11. Bob
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    My God. This guy is such a complete fool. He’s more obsessed with blaming the Obama administration than leading the country. Unbelievable.

  12. Demetrius
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Petoskey News-Review: Petoskey Plastics to manufacture isolation gowns for McLaren Health Care


    WXYZ Detroit: Detroit company transitioning plant to make hospital masks instead of clothes


  13. Sad
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    FF you should see what they are saying at Electablog.

    You might what to concentrate your efforts there. The readship is deprived of your great insights and commentary.

    I think you’ve thoroughly schooled everyone here .


    You could you 10 times the words you currently do.

  14. John Galt
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink



  15. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Why do you call it electablog? They had a whole four posts on the eleven blog entries on the front page. Barky ought to cut me royalties for stirring up thousands and thousands of posts worth of controversy here.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for trying Mark. It was refreshing. As you can see FF’s firehose compulsion is reason and logic proof.

    HW– the only satisfaction I get from your obsessive presence here is that it might earn Mark a few pennies. I’m sure it’s not worth it though.
    If you want to get paid for trolling, call up Putin. I have a feeling he’d be really into you.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink


    And that’s all folks! I’ll see you on the other side in two months.

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Hey, it’s going to be ok. My niece is being pushed into work a month before her Nursing School graduation. They are just graduating them early without completing courses or finals or something. This is at Columbia in an accelerated master’s program. She has limited clinical experience and she’s going to get thrown into a NY hospital mid=pandemic without adequate supplies. She’s scared shitless and feels totally unprepared for this. But who is prepared for this? I honestly don’t have the words to console her. This is madness.

  19. Bob
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad to hear they are waving some of this stuff for people like your niece, Jean. Hopefully they wave her student debt. Bernie would! It’s a proactive move and a real President would have been out ahead on this stuff months ago. We need more hands on apprenticeships in the field anyway. She’ll do fine. I hope our government rewards these people. You know they won’t.

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    She’s going to face our systemic inequities head-on, Bob. Like many working within the system (while being derided as complicit by leftists waving their ideological flags from their basements) she’s going to do her best to make the system work for her patients in spite of itself. I feel like I’m sending a fresh-faced young recruit off to a war zone. You have no fucking idea if she’ll be ok, Bob. None of us do. Every person working on Covid-19 wards has been told it’s not a matter of whether they get it but when. Of course, she’s going to do this work. And of course, most of us have no idea what that feels like at 24 or at any age. Take your cavalier, snarky bullshit and fuck off.

    Bernie does not have a wish-granting magic wand. It doesn’t matter what Dem gets the nod, they all have about the same chances of creating meaningful change in our current system. They will have no chance if leftists keep attacking the candidate who will be our nominee. Jesus, I’m so fucking tired of righteous judgment on the left. It must be nice to think the right ideology is all you need to not be complicit in the system.

  21. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    “the only satisfaction I get”

    That’s right because I’ve been fucking you up the whole time, kid gloves or not.

  22. Jean Henry
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Jesus you’re a creep, HW.

  23. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 21, 2020 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Waah waah, baby Jean. There are actually people around here who respect me. No one respects you. Lynne and Mark might pretend to but only because your ranks are so thin.

  24. John Brown
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    No surprise that sick fucks can’t see that agent orange is a sick fuck.

  25. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Bunch o’ crybabies.

  26. Sad
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    People are hurting and scared HW

    Show a little empathy.

  27. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    If some scared, hurting sucker tries to punch me in the nose I’m not going to coddle them! “Awww it’s okay. I know you are scared and hurting.”

  28. Sad
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    They’re just words HW.

    They can be hurtful but not like physical violence.

    If words could hurt us FF would have killed us all a long time ago.

  29. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I am using words too.

  30. Jean Henry
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I want you to think for a moment about your constant use of the phrase ‘I’m using kid gloves,’ HW. I don’t feel threatened or hurt by you. You have know power over me. I think you are a creep. I’m glad I don’t know you IRL and feel sorry for those who do. Same with FF, IRobert, DD and Bob. While I’m sure you all have redeeming qualities, it just can’t possibly counter balance your pugilistic and blowhard tendencies. I prefer my pugilism in defense of the vulnerable. I prefer my civility serve the cause of solutions not suppression. You all seem to more invested in your frail egos and in-group political identities than any other cause frankly.

  31. Jean Henry
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink


  32. stupid hick
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    “There are actually people around here who respect me.”

    Not I! Respect is earned. You’re so delusional you don’t even know you lost every argument you’ve ever had, on every topic, with Jean and Lynne. That’s some pretty weak shit, not deserving of respect at all. Rap back at them and make it rhyme like Pudlord. Go for it, use the your best words, your most perfect and beautiful words.

  33. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I always imagine Jean listening to the Indigo Girls, “closer to fine”, when she is composing another one of her quasi abusive and sexist sermons warning everyone against the limits of reason.

    So much hate. Let go of it Jean. I love myself. When Jean feels hate I/we don’t feel it at all. You are the only one who feels the hate. I suspect the other people you try to abuse feel the exact same way.

  34. Bob
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Jean, you just suck. Even when I try to show some kindness towards you. You are just more miserable than HW even. Good luck to you.

  35. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Jean, there was a time when I started posting that lasted for months when I had an explicit policy of never responding to personal attacks. You decided right away to begin attacking me personally with horrible smears. You made no bones about it. You thought it was a good idea to try to wipe me out because of my support for Trump and all that implies (to you!)

    Learn what self defense is. The idea that you think I am some kind of aggressor is insane. I mostly don’t say shit about anyone unless they say something about me. You think you can attack with impunity and then cry like a stuck pig when someone defends their self.

  36. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    “stupid hick
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink
    “There are actually people around here who respect me.”
    Not I! Respect is earned. You’re so delusional you don’t even know you lost every argument you’ve ever had, on every topic, with Jean and Lynne. That’s some pretty weak shit, not deserving of respect at all. Rap back at them and make it rhyme like Pudlord. Go for it, use the your best words, your most perfect and beautiful words.”

    Do you think I care if another crybaby derp respects me?

  37. Sad
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Be wise grasshopper.

    Beware the darkness!

  38. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I think we can all agree that the world would be a better place if HW, from now on, started using more thoughtful phrases like “young-goat-leather-mittens”.

    Do your part HW. It is only fair.

  39. Jean Henry
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a pro tip, Bob, don’t tell people worried about loved ones that they will be fine. Don’t say you are glad they are exposed to risk. Don’t expect that your good intentions matter at all when all you are demonstrating is your incapacity for empathy and your need to score political gotcha points.

    You’re not a good guy. And that’s fine. Stop faking it.

  40. Jean Henry
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Well fuck, UBI AND martial law. What a fucked up time. I was wondering when Trump would realize he could harness public fear to accrue even more power to the executive branch. That’s the kind of opportunity he rarely misses. Of course, he usually invents the risks and stokes the fears from bigotry. Oh right, he did do a little of that already.

    Of course there will be no protests.

    Thank goodness there’s an election in the fall. Oh wait will there be?


  41. stupid hick
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    “Do you think I care if another crybaby derp respects me?”

    Waaah! So weak. Of course no one respects a delusional turd who can’t even win an argument with Jean Henry. Pudlord is less pathetic and twice as funny.

  42. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Show me an argument I had with Jean I didn’t win then.

  43. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Oh no. Stupid hick who has never in all these years brought one fact based argument is calling me pathetic.

  44. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    What is it like to live your life actually spending energy hating me? Does it feel good? Why do you do it? You don’t seem to have any reasons for it. I never imagine there were people like this I might have to deal with. It’s so strange.

  45. Posted March 23, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    It took a few days, but he came up with an answer to the question.

  46. iRobert
    Posted March 23, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    FF, HW, and EOS, there’s your answer. Why do you suppose lil Donny didn’t come up with that when initially asked the question?

    I ask that question in all sincerity. But I realize it’s a “nasty” question by Trump’s definition, and I’m losing hope that any of you can ever actually speak openly and frankly on the subject. I’m not sure what it is you are imagining you have to lose by being fully honest.

  47. Sad
    Posted March 23, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    How is Mark Maynard?

    It must be a rough time to own a building with a bunch of artist for tenants?

    Are you scared?

  48. Lynne
    Posted March 23, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I think SH is intellectually superior to HW. Obviously only based on what is posted here.

One Trackback

  1. By The governors fight back on March 22, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    […] childcare for doctors and nurses. And, somehow, he’s doing it all with empathy, and without defensively lashing out at people like an angry, narcissistic toddler. It’s exactly the kind of leadership we need right […]

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