President Donald Trump sidestepped a question about his message to Americans fearing the coronavirus and instead used the question to attack the reporting an NBC News staffer.
During a briefing by the White House coronavirus task force on Friday, NBC reporter Peter Alexander asked Trump what he would say to Americans who are scared of the threat of COVID-19.
"I say that you're a terrible reporter," Trump said.
Trump went on to call Alexander's question "nasty."
"The American people are looking for answers and they're looking for hope, and you're doing sensationalism," Trump said.
Trump then went on to call Comcast, NBC's parent company, "Concast."
Alexander later asked Vice President Mike Pence about his message to frightened Americans.
"Don't be afraid, be vigilant," Pence said. He went on to encourage Americans to continue practicing social distancing and hygiene.
Alexander highlighted Trump's and Pence's answers in a Friday afternoon tweet.
I offered both Pres Trump and VP Pence an opportunity to reassure Americans.
Simple question: “What do you say to Americans who are scared?”
Trump, to me: “I say, you’re a terrible reporter.”
Pence, an hour later: “Don’t be afraid. Be vigilant.”
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) March 20, 2020
Trump's comment came the same day that NBC News reported that one of its staffers had died after contracting COVID-19.