On Sunday, the State of the Union host — who had previously expressed his frustrations over Twitter about the lack of interview access to White House officials and health experts for Sunday news programs like his amid Trump’s hospitalization — didn’t mince his words as he addressed the president, known for regularly tuning into news shows, during his broadcast.
“Many Americans are likely feeling both sympathy and anger today, emotions that don’t necessarily mix well,” the news anchor began. “Sympathy for all those suffering, including President Trump, who remains at Walter Reed Medical Center. But also, anger. Because so much, so much of this pain could have been avoided.
“So many of us since March have been doing everything we can to preserve the health not only of ourselves and our families, but our communities, our neighbors, you. Social distancing, wearing masks, holding events remotely. Weddings have been canceled; jobs lost. Children are missing out on in-person education and their ability to see friends. It’s a real crisis. It’s going to leave scars. 208,000 Americans have died. Thousands of Americans have lost loved ones without being able to properly mourn, or even say goodbye.
“But we’re in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic,” he continued. “Health experts say this is what we need to do in order to get to the other side. Regardless of any sympathy we may feel, we also know: the president has been undermining these efforts, expressing disdain for health regulations and those who abide by them.”
Tapper went on to play a clip of Trump chiding a White House reporter for being “politically correct” by wearing a mask. The CNN host then addressed those who refuse to wear masks or socially distance.
“You are making it worse for all of us,” he said, adding that they were taking cues from the White House, Tapper cited the recent Rose Garden reception for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, which some health experts are calling a “super-spreader” event following a rash of positive COVID-19 results among those who attended, including former adviser Kellyanne Conway.
“How are future generations going to try to make sense of these images of the Republican leaders of the nation acting like this during a once-in-a-century pandemic with more than 200,000 Americans dead?” he puzzled.
Tapper clarified that he wished those affected a “full recovery,” but hit out at what he called the administration’s “callous indifference.”
“But do you not see? It’s not just through failed leadership, or setting bad examples. You are all now literally risking spreading the virus yourselves. The president and his team have been behaving as if the pandemic is over. This callous indifference to the well-being of the citizens this president swore to protect — it’s no longer theoretical. It’s no longer, well, they might get the virus.”
Tapper then chastised Trump for carrying on with his New Jersey fundraiser despite knowing that aide Hope Hicks was sick and positive for COVID-19, potentially putting countless people — from housekeepers to his own donors — at risk.
“I wish you all health and recovery, and a long life,” Tapper concluded. “But we have to note the tragedy here. It is horrible, and awful, and profound. Sick and in isolation, Mr. President, you have become a symbol of your own failures. Failures of recklessness, ignorance, arrogance. The same failures you have been inflicting on the rest of us. Get well and please — for the rest of us, who don’t get to go to Walter Reed — get well and get it together."
Tapper’s statement has not yet received a reaction from the president, though actors Ben Stiller and Josh Gad were among those responding.
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