President Donald Trump has responded to reports of him not fully comprehending the "severity" of the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to blast the story, as well as CNN's Jim Acosta, who wrote it with Maegan Vazquez.
On Tuesday, a member of the president's coronavirus revealed to Acosta that "he still doesn't get it," and "he does not get it," when referring to the pandemic. Trump's Tuesday meeting with the task force was his first since April when he also often seemed generally oblivious to the situation. Trump also tweeted out photos of the task force members, some of which were even wearing masks. However, the source said it was during that meeting that they had trouble convincing the president to take the matter seriously.
.@CNN has no sources on the Task Force. Their “sources” are made up, pure fiction! Jim Acosta is a Fake reporter!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2020
Despite some of the expert's best efforts, the source said Trump repeatedly "starts talking about something else" during the meetings. In the past, the source said Trump had appeared to be in a better mood, which was not the case in the Oval Office on Tuesday evening. "His mood lately is not a happy mood," they added. The source did stipulate that Vice President Mike Pence "gets it," though he appears to be "conflicted" over his conversations with the task force, which seems to imply that he doesn't want to appear disloyal to the president despite the severity of the situation.
Trump's grasp of the situation was also on display during a recent one-on-one interview with Jonathan Swan of Axios. In a now-viral video, Swan did push Trump further than most interviewers get the chance to do, namely by asking follow-up questions and challenging his often-baseless answers. This chat included the infamous moment where Trump used a few random charts and graphs he had in an attempt to disprove the notion that he has mismanaged the handling of the pandemic.
Trump also claimed that the virus' spread is "under control," though when Swan mentioned the number of deaths, the president replied with, "they are dying, that's true," but added that "it is what it is." That particular comment caught heat on social media, with quite a few people took it as him writing off of the massive devastation the pandemic has caused so far.