Trump touts TV ratings of coronavirus briefings

Colin Campbell
Managing Editor

President Trump took to Twitter on Sunday and repeatedly bragged about the television ratings of his near-daily coronavirus press briefings.

“Because the “‘ratings’ of my News Conferences etc. are so high, ‘Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers’ according to the  @nytimes, the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY,” Trump tweeted. “‘Trump is reaching too many people, we must stop him.’ said one lunatic.” 

He then made sure to plug his briefing later that day: “See you at 5:00 P.M.!”

It was one of five tweets Trump sent Sunday highlighting a New York Times article from the previous week on the number of people regularly turning in to watch him brief the nation on the crisis. (It’s unclear what “lunatic” quote Trump was referring to, but the Times did quote MSNBC host Rachel Maddow saying, “I would stop putting those briefings on live TV — not out of spite, but because it’s misinformation.”) 

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room, Friday, March 27, 2020, in Washington. (Alex Brandon/AP)

As Trump pointed out, the Times reported that Trump’s briefings “have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of ‘The Bachelor.’”

But despite Trump’s celebration on social media, the briefings usually contain somber news. This weekend, the U.S. surpassed China and Italy in confirmed coronavirus cases, taking the No. 1 spot with more than 135,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. And the U.S. death toll is over 2,000 and continuing to climb.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top coronavirus expert, said Sunday that the U.S. could face more than 100,000 deaths and millions of infections from the pandemic. 

“I don’t want to be held to that,” he emphasized, telling CNN anchor Jake Tapper that such projections were a “moving target” based on models. 

Tapper later contrasted one of Trump’s ratings tweets with Fauci’s comments.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides.