Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

CNN's Jim Acosta expresses concern Trump's 'meltdown' shows he's not 'in control on multiple levels'

"I've covered six presidents, but I've never covered any White House briefing quite like the one tonight," USA Today's Susan Page tweeted Monday night, after President Trump's unusual coronavirus press conference. The event, which lasted a record two and a half hours, included infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci carefully walking back comments about how an earlier response would have saved many lives, a White House-produced video mixing praise for Trump's response with criticism of the media, and Trump incorrectly claiming "total" authority over when states lift their various stay-at-home orders.

Reason senior editor Robby Soave also found Trump's press conference extraordinary.

On CNN, which broadcast much of Trump's speech even while contemporaneously describing it as an angry "propaganda session," White House correspondent Jim Acosta seemed concerned about Trump's wellbeing. "I have to tell you, that is the biggest meltdown I have ever seen from a president of the United States in my career," he said. "I don't think a reasonable person could watch what we just saw over the last hour and conclude that the president is in control. He sounds like he is out of control. And he was ranting and raving for the better part of the last hour during that news conference."

Acosta said by "claiming that he has authorities that he doesn't have," Trump is trying to assert control after East Coast and West Coast governors agreed they would decide when their states would open in a coordinated fashion, with advice from Fauci and other federal experts. "To some extent, top public health officials and governors are working around the president for precisely the reason that we just saw unfold in front of our very eyes over the last hour," he said, "and that is: The president doesn't sound like he's in control on multiple levels." Watch below. Peter Weber