Donald Trump has lashed out at a reporter who asked him whether any American requiring ventilator support would be able to receive that aid amid a severe shortage of supplies, saying: “Don’t be a cutie pie”.
The president was conducting a press briefing on the latest updates surrounding the global coronavirus pandemic on Friday when he was asked about the nation’s lack of critical medical supplies amid several severe outbreaks in states like New York and California.
He was asked by ABC News’ Jonathan Karl whether the White House could ensure “that everybody who needs a ventilator will get a ventilator”, as reports indicated doctors and nurses on the front lines of the unfolding crisis were already running low on the life-saving medical tool, along with personal protective equipment (PPE) like N95 face masks.
“I think we’re in really good shape,” the president began. “This is a pandemic, the likes of which nobody’s seen before.”
The reporter then continued seeking an answer to his question from the president, adding: “But everybody who needs one will be able to get a ventilator?”
Mr Trump then shot back: “Look, don’t be a cutie pie, okay?”
“Nobody’s done what we’ve been able to do,” he added. “Nobody’s done anything like what we’ve been able to do.”
The president has frequently lashed out at the media during the pandemic, calling the American press “dangerous” and “corrupt” in a series of tweets on Saturday morning.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US has meanwhile soared past 104,000 after the federal government faced significant issues in distributing testing kits across the country.
Whereas South Korea managed to test nearly 274,000 people for Covid-19 in about a two-month period, the US had only tested about 25,000 during that same time period. Both countries confirmed their first official coronavirus case on 20 January.
Experts have said that window of time was crucial for saving countless lives from the novel virus, and that rapid testing would have helped slow the spread of transmissions across the country and “flatten the curve” by keeping the nation’s hospital system within capacity.
Mr Trump has continued to slam the media for its coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and his administration’s seemingly slow response to the crisis.
Last week, he also attacked NBC News’ Peter Alexander after the journalist asked what the president would tell Americans who were scared about the virus.
“I say that you’re a terrible reporter,” Mr Trump said.
“That’s what I say,” he added. “I think it’s a very nasty question, and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.”