Truly we live in the darkest timeline. Image: Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission. By Amanda Yeo2020-04-09 02:42:03 UTC Today President Donald Trump delivered a White House briefing…
All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.
By Amanda Yeo
Today President Donald Trump delivered a White House briefing on the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 10,000 in the U.S. alone. Trump has been widely criticised for his handling of the coronavirus, having claimed it would “miraculously” disappear by April and baselessly pushed an unproven drug as a cure. We’re just over a week into April and the virus is still spreading, the U.S. reporting the highest infection count in the world with over 350,000 confirmed cases thus far.
So, of course, one reporter at today’s briefing thought it appropriate to ask Trump about Netflix true crime docuseries Tiger King.
“One of the biggest rating hits of the coronavirus, aside from these briefings, had been a show on Netflix called Tiger King,” started New York Post reporter Steven Nelson, appealing to Trump’s ego and interest in television ratings.
Nelson then proceeded to give a brief overview of central character Joe Exotic’s situation, ask Trump if he had seen the show, and query if the president “had any thoughts on pardoning Joe Exotic.”
The question was not so much a softball as a fuzzy pink plushie with a squeaker in the middle, greatly pleasing Trump. The president exchanged some brief banter with Nelson, stating he “know[s] nothing about” Tiger King and asking why Exotic was imprisoned.
“Are you on his side? Are you recommending a pardon?” he asked. Eventually Trump stated he’d “take a look” before moving on.
Opportunities to question Trump during this unprecedented crisis are precious, particularly as the White House has made it a habit of kicking out reporters who displease it. They’re also incredibly important, as the economic upheaval caused by the coronavirus has Americans fearing not only for their health but their livelihoods. At least 10 million people in the U.S. have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, endangering housing and food security at a particularly dangerous time.
To use such an opportunity to laugh about a comparatively meaningless television show and paint Trump as an affable jokester seems in poor taste.
None of this is to say there isn’t a place for levity in dark times. We need occasional respites from the swirling vortex of despair and hopelessness that has engulfed the world. Otherwise, we might all just lie down in the dirt and never get up.
Even so, the decision to put such a frivolous, asinine question to the leader of the most powerful country in the world in the midst of a global pandemic is questionable, to say the least.
People are literally dying, Steven.