Trump has been using the pandemic to promote himself, even bragging about ratings as the death toll increased.
During a press briefing on Wednesday, Donald Trump's new press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, decried "publicity stunts" during the coronavirus pandemic, criticizing House Democrats for trying to hold oversight hearings that the White House is trying to block.
"We don't have time in the middle of a pandemic for publicity stunts," said McEnany. She added, "This is not the time for that, it's not the place for that."
The complaint comes just three days after Trump was interviewed by the conservative Fox News Channel at the Lincoln Memorial. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt deemed the Fox appearance "a core governmental function" in order to lift the ban on events at the memorial.
Notably, Trump claimed during the interview that he was treated "worse than Lincoln," who was assassinated.
In April, Trump held an elaborate photo-op on the lawn of the White House in which he handed out golden keys to truck drivers, thanking them for transporting supplies across the country. Trump repeatedly violated his own task force's social distancing guidelines as he posed for multiple photos.
In late March, Trump traveled from the White House to Norfolk, Virginia, to hold a ceremony for the send off of the USNS Comfort medical ship before it set sail for New York. Much of the country was already on lockdown.
"We will win this war and we will win this war quickly with as little death as possible," Trump said in remarks captured in a highlight reel by the White House and posted to YouTube.
Despite McEnany's claim that the middle of a pandemic is no time for publicity stunts, Trump repeatedly praised the attention he received for his task force's briefings.
"The ratings are through the roof," Trump tweeted triumphantly last month, comparing his TV appearances to "Monday Night Football, Bachelor Finale type numbers."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.