Trump, standing on the sidelines, couldn’t help but intervene. “Excuse me, does anyone really believe this number? He said, interrupting a seemingly surprised Birx – who then turned around, smiled and coldly explained that she had put China’s number on the graph to demonstrate “how unrealistic it could be”.
Although Birx tried to move on, Trump still couldn’t be silent. He soon interrupted her again, to make a similar remark, this time on the figures given for Iran.
“Does anyone really believe this number? Trump asked again. “You see what’s going on there. He then asked to return to the previous slide and walked to the screen, hovering and pointing incredulously at the figures for China and Iran.
The timing was right for Saturday’s 70-minute briefing, in the absence of well-known figures such as Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Trump has been the lion’s share of the discussions, hovering between lashing democratic politicians and the media, in particular New york times reporter Maggie Haberman – and embracing comfortable subjects. He repeatedly mentioned a phone call to anonymous world leaders who, he said, praised his management of the epidemic.