Roberts, who was setting up a question by mentioning criticisms of Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, noted that former Obama administration officials had pointed out that the Trump administration dissolved the pandemic office of the National Security Council.
“We didn’t do that. That turned out to be a false story.... What are you, working for CNN?” Trump said, interrupting the reporter’s question.
Roberts, who previously worked at CBS News and then CNN for several years before joining Fox News, replied: “No no, I’m pointing out what they have said, and what you have said, that’s all.”
“Fox isn’t so easy either. Don’t kid yourselves,” the president shot back.
"You know that's a false story" -- Trump hits back at John Roberts of Fox News after Roberts correctly notes that Trump disbanded the executive branch team responsible for coordinating responses to pandemics https://t.co/6EdhaYvZ3V pic.twitter.com/K53HuNfYbY— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 1, 2020
“You know that’s a false story, what you just said is a false story.... You shouldn’t be repeating a story you know is false,” Trump continued.
The subject of dismantling the pandemic response unit has proved to be a sore topic for Trump on multiple occasions.
Last week, when PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked about it, he also lashed out, labeling her question “nasty” and claiming he didn’t “know anything about it.” Alcindor later defended her question as “relevant, fair, and truth-seeking.”
The Global Health Security Team, established under the Obama administration in response to the Ebola outbreak, was disbanded in 2018 when Trump’s then-national security adviser, John Bolton, reshuffled the NSC.
Last month, when he was asked similar questions, about whether he regretted budget proposals that called for massive cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization, he said no.
“Some of the people we cut, they haven’t been used for many, many years. And if we have a need, we can get them very quickly,” he said.
“I’m a business person. I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them,” he added.
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