Trump criticized for his 'extraordinary performance' of 'recounting his grievances' at coronavirus presser
US President Donald Trump holds a press conference on COVID-19 in the Rose Garden of the White House on March 13, 2020. AFP / SAUL LOEB

On Monday, USA Today Washington Bureau chief Susan Page excoriated President Donald Trump for his behavior at the latest coronavirus task force press briefing.

"It was a White House briefing like no other," wrote Page. "President Trump late Monday turned a White House briefing on the coronavirus into a fervent defense of his actions to respond to the deadly pandemic and an attack on reporters who posed skeptical questions."

"It is rare for the White House briefing room to be used by a president for such a fervent defense of his own actions and recounting of his grievances, especially while a national crisis is still unfolding," noted Page. "After the terrorist attacks of 9/11 or during the Iranian hostage crisis, for instance, then-presidents George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter generally offered reassurance and made appeals for national unity."

"Trump's tone through the briefing showed the concern he and his allies feel about the criticism of his leadership on the most serious crisis of his presidency. He spoke hours after his presumptive Democratic opponent, former vice president Joe Biden, was endorsed by his last rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders," wrote Page. "The briefing took on the air of a campaign event. Early on, the president aired a video that showed governors and other officials praising his actions as wise and timely — similar to a Trump campaign video that had already been released. Federal law generally bars presidents from mixing campaign appeals with official activities."

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