Appearing on CNN's "New Day," New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman uncharacteristically criticized President Donald Trump for his administration's botched response to the coronavirus pandemic, building on her article that called the president a "bystander" during the crisis.
Writing for the Times, she explained, "While he presents himself as the nation’s commanding figure, Mr. Trump has essentially become a bystander as school superintendents, sports commissioners, college presidents, governors and business owners across the country take it upon themselves to shut down much of American life without clear guidance from the president."
Asked to elaborate, Haberman noted the president's speech two night ago, saying, "What's striking about his Oval Office address -- there were many things striking about it, one thing that was notable, he talked about this ban on travel from Europe but he didn't describe it accurately. There were a bunch of mistakes, people around the president are used to him making mistakes in speeches -- this not an average speech."
"He didn't talk at all about testing, he didn't talk about further guidelines for people beyond be careful with elderly people and wash your hands a lot, if you're feeling ill, stay home," she continued. "Even as the president offered this somewhat more serious tone the other night, in his speech he still reverted back to form talking about a rally that had been planned that hadn't been announced yet that he claimed had sold out with 100,000 RSVPs and he left open the possibility he might go."
"The governor of Florida urged people not to have large gatherings -- the rally was scheduled for Florida, so you are seeing a real moment where how the president actually leads, absent Mueller, absent impeachment investigation, is coming into stark relief and it is causing concern for a number of people," she added.