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12th May 2020

Trump plunges to new depths with bizarre ‘Obamagate’ press briefing



Even in a presidency known for bizarre press conferences, this stood out

Donald Trump took to the lectern on the lawn of the White House on Monday to speak to the media. Behind him on both sides stood two almost comedically large signs which read ‘America Leads The World In Testing’ – an untrue statement, but one which has been propagated more and more by the White House as the true scale of Covid-19 deaths in the United States has been laid bare.

The US has little to boast about regarding its response to the pandemic, the numbers being infected and dying are higher than any other country on earth. So testing is where Trump seeks to gain his kudos.

This statement was almost immediately brought up by a journalist. Weijia Jiang of CBS News asked Trump why he continues to mention that America is leading in testing globally, as if it were a competition to him.

Why do this, she asked, when Americans are dying of the virus every day. Trump’s response? That people are dying all over the world every day. He then suggested she “Ask China”, and that if she did, she “may get a very unusual answer”.

Having insulted the journalist, Trump then floundered some more. Pointing out journalists to speak, before accusing them of not replying fast enough. He was then asked about tweets he sent on Mother’s Day accusing former president Barack Obama of committing the biggest political crime in American history by far.

‘Obamagate’, as it has become known, is the word du jour for Trump acolytes. Exactly what it means no one is sure, and some critics believe that is exactly the point. Throw a phrase regarding Obama out there and distract from the 80,000 Americans who have died from coronavirus.

Even Trump didn’t say what it means when asked, replying only that reporters “know what the crime is”.

Shortly after, Trump shuffled away from what was one of his most bizarre meetings with press ever.