President Donald Trump praised Walmart on Saturday during his latest press conference on the coronavirus pandemic. He gave a shout-out to the company's CEO, Doug McMillon, saying he was "really helpful to" the White House during the outbreak. More bizarrely — as far as Twitter was concerned — the president praised the company's sales numbers.
"I assume they're doing pretty well," President Trump said of Walmart, "because people are certainly buying, buying more than even a clip at Christmas, by substantial numbers. Pretty amazing. But they're doing incredibly. They put on tremendous extra staff, you don't have empty shelves. A lot of things have happened that are very good."
Trump claims there are "no empty shelves" because the virus has been so good for Walmart.
GOOD! Because I'm going to need more toilet paper to deal with his sh*t. pic.twitter.com/YgCdqds5vQ— KevinlyFather 🇺🇲🇨🇦🇲🇼🇸🇿 (@KevinlyFather) March 21, 2020
This tangent in the press briefing struck many people as odd, especially those who watched the whole thing live. Many people live-tweeted the press conference blow-by-blow, and they were concerned by the president's apparent fixation on this one company's success through a global crisis.
The press conference was full of strange moments this weekend, and brought fresh criticism on the Trump administration's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Users were also concerned with the vice president, who confirmed that a member of his staff had tested positive for the virus, yet shared a microphone with the other officials on-stage.
Here is what people online are saying about the president's comments on Walmart.
WHY IS HE TALKING ABOUT HOW WALMART IS DOING BETTER RIGHT NOW THAN AT CHRISTMAS?— Meghan Traudt (@meghantraudt) March 21, 2020
When the president's mention of Walmart extended past a casual mention into paragraphs of commentary, many viewers were baffled. They wondered why the president felt that this was worth the limited air time of the press briefing.
Don’t worry folks, Walmart is doing well. We’re all going to be ok!— John (@Enric0Pallazz0) March 21, 2020
Others took a more sarcastic view, insinuating that it was a joke to imagine that Walmart's prospects would make the average American feel better.
'Can't Even Watch'
I can’t even watch. Give me the Crib Notes version.— tempestuous taproot (@beetsbluecheese) March 21, 2020
Many people heard about the Walmart comments secondhand, following along with the press conference through tweets rather than watching live. They were arguable more incredulous than anyone.
"He's desperately trying to make it seem like this is a boon to the economy. Because he's that f—ing deranged," one person wrote.
.@realdonaldtrump just can’t do anything but lie and focus on the wrong things. Who the f@ck Care’s how Walmart is doing. “People are buying at a clip greater than Christmas.” Class A evil asshole.— Wonderdyke 🌊❄️🏳️🌈 (@wonderdyke) March 21, 2020
Some people appealed directly to the president, asking him to consider how his speech might make the average American feel. They tried to point out how Walmart's sales were inconsequential to the pandemic itself.
Hard to Believe
Did the president just brag about how Walmart is doing better than they do at Christmas?— Hawkeye_40 (@Hawkeye_40) March 21, 2020
Many users even reached out to Twitter for confirmation of the president's tangent on Saturday, finding it hard to believe themselves.
Trump just praised how much buying is happening at Walmart. More than at Christmas. Yes, I'S CALLED HOARDING!— Ken Jones (@KenJones81) March 21, 2020
Hey Trump what’s happening at Walmart is called panic buying during a global crisis.— Pat Cassidy (@taracas) March 21, 2020
For those that needed it, plenty of Twitter users pointed out that the increased sales at Walmart were not necessarily a good thing, even by cold economic standards. The massive sales push was more reflective of "panic-buying" and "hoarding," many people said, and did not reflect well on the economy in the way that the president might have wanted it to.
Taken yesterday. Trump lies. pic.twitter.com/IUDsXwDht8— Glenn Fariel (@GlennFariel) March 21, 2020
Finally, many users responded to say that the president's claims about Walmart were not even necessarily true everywhere. They posted pictures of their own Walmart locations, showing empty shelves everywhere.