Asked if he had a message for the American people coping with the outbreak’s impact on Easter weekend, the president said: “I love the people of our country. And we are bringing our country back. I want to pay my deepest love and respect to all the families and friends of all who perished.”
The press briefing on coronavirus developments that has become a daily fixture was not held Saturday, although Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to hold a briefing with the virus task force in the Situation Room that was closed to the media.
The president is in Washington, D.C., but had no public events on his schedule.
Trump had earlier in the day attacked multiple media outlets over their coverage of his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, tweeting directly at some and alluding to others.
“The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board doesn’t have a clue on how to fight and win. Their views on Tariffs & Trade are losers for the U.S., but winners for other countries, including China,” the president tweeted.
He focused indirectly on a heavily sourced New York Times report published Saturday that laid out in detail his administration’s actions in January and February, when the scale of the outbreak was becoming known, implying without evidence that the reporters had made up their sourcing.
“When the Failing @nytimes or Amazon @washingtonpost writes a story saying “unnamed sources said”, or any such phrase where a person’s name is not used, don’t believe them. Most of these unnamed sources don’t exist. They are made up to defame & disparage.”
The president also referenced a separate New York Times report that indicated the coronavirus had mainly been transmitted to the U.S. by travelers from Europe, appearing to praise the report from the newspaper he’d earlier labeled “fake news.”