Meacham: Trump Is ‘Selling Them,’ ‘Not ‘Protecting Them’ with Coronavirus Briefings

Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” presidential historian Jon Meacham said President Donald Trump was using the coronavirus task force briefings as “infomercials” to sell Americans on approving his administration’s response.

On reopening the country, host Chuck Todd said, “This decision, if he makes it too soon, would be probably the most consequential of his presidency, and perhaps could go consequential in a really bad way if he’s wrong.”

Meacham said, “Absolutely, and it’s in keeping with his monarchical tendencies here. I think these briefings are really infomercials more than briefings. He is constantly selling his own reaction to the crisis in the face of facts. And I think that ultimately what you’re seeing with the numbers is Americans at some intuitive level understanding that the president is selling them, he’s not protecting them.”

He added, “And I think that one of the things he’s got to figure out politically here is this is a virus, the virus can’t be bullied. It can’t be dismissed. You know, 75 years ago today, Franklin Roosevelt died, and one of his watchwords in the Second World War was, the American people can handle bad news, but you have to give it to them straight from the shoulder. And the news is going to get worse and worse before it gets better and better. But if you level with people, they will respond.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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