A minute-by-minute timeline of Trump's astonishing meltdown this weekend

Sirena Bergman@SirenaBergman
Monday 27 April 2020 18:15
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(Getty/Canva/indy100)

As you may have heard, Donald Trump has had a busy few days, culminating in what can only be described as a full-on Twitter meltdown.

It included raging against the press for nonexistent prizes, bragging about where he eats his burgers, threatening to sue reporters who covered the Russia investigation, telling people bleach could cure coronavirus, and claiming all of the above was all just sarcasm. Basically, the president is having a totally normal one.

Here's what happened.

Thursday 23 April, 6:10pm EST: Suggested we should inject disinfectant into the lungs to cure coronavirus

It all began on Thursday, when he claimed during his daily coronavirus briefing that he thought that "disinfectant" could be used inside the body to treat coronavirus.

Here is his exact quote:

And then I see the disinfectant! Which knocks it out in a minute. One minute! And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection... inside or... almost a cleaning.

Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number. So it would be interesting to check that.

And here is a video of him saying it:

The backlash was immediate and pretty intense... this is possibly the most ridiculous (and potentially dangerous) thing he's said so far. People were outraged and baffled, his medical adviser's reaction went viral, bleach companies had to step in to say this is absolutely not a thing, and related calls to local poison control spiked.

We'll just say – it wasn't a good look...

Friday 24 April, 2:02pm EST: Claims his comments were actually 'sarcasm'

...And it seems the president realised it, because the following day he claimed the whole thing was actually said "sarcastically" to reporters "see what would happen".

He repeated numerous times that the question was intended for reporters, without really explaining why this would be the case, or addressing the fact that video footage shows him clearly addressing the side of the room where medical adviser Deborah Birx was sitting – and not a single reporter was.

Friday 24 April, 6pm EST: Refuses to answer reporters' questions

That same day Trump ended his press briefing after just 30 minutes without asking taking any questions for the first time.

Answering reporters' questions is where he often gets into a state, as he's forced to go unscripted, which often ends in bizarre claims or rants about how awful the media is, rather than the actual issue at hand (coronavirus, btw, in case you'd forgotten too).

Saturday 25 April, 6:01pm EST: Suggests he will end daily coronavirus briefings

Trump tweets saying he doesn't see the purpose of daily press briefings because the media asks "nothing but hostile questions" and "refuses to report the truth or facts accurately".

His outburst appears to be in response to reports that his comments about being sarcastic make no sense when you watch the video back.

People pointed out that his press briefings are televised live, leaving little room for the media to insert their agenda. Some suggested this was all about trying to salvage his approval ratings ahead of the November election, but it didn't go down well – in a time of crisis Americans expect to hear updates from their president on what to expect.

Sunday 26 April, 7:28pm EST: Rages against journalists in Twitter rant about 'hambergers' and 'Noble' prizes

Yesterday it seems Trump caught wind of a New York Times report which claimed that Trump spends most of his day with the TV on eating fries, and that he doesn't get the to the Oval Office until around noon.

Trump clearly did not enjoy this representation, and went to pains to debunk it, tweeting, then deleting, then re-posting with the correct spelling of "hamburger", about how much he works, how the press should be sued and their "Noble" prized taken away.

He also claimed he was the "hardest working president in history". Yes, really.

His meltdown was widely reported with many journalists ridiculing him for not only mis-spelling "Nobel Prize" but also presumably getting it confused with the Pulitzer (there's no such thing as a Nobel Prize for Journalism).

Which brings us to...

Sunday 26 April, 11:54pm EST: Tries to claim his spelling mistakes were 'sarcasm' too

Because the last time he tried to claim his mistakes were actually an attempt at sarcasm it went so well, he tried to use it again. This time, he seemed to imply that he intentionally mis-spelt "Noble" prize, as a convoluted double-layered joke/jab.

This is what he said, if you can make sense of it:

In case you were wondering, this is the definition of "sarcasm", along with the example given by Cambridge.org, which seems surprisingly fitting:

The use of remarks that clearly mean the opposite of what they say, made in order to hurt someone's feelings or to criticize something in a humorous way: "You have been working hard," he said with heavy sarcasm, as he looked at the empty page.

It seems Trump has gone into Alanis Morisette mode, reimagining what rhetorical concepts mean in order to fit his particular tune.

Monday 27 April, 10:48am EST: Proves how hard-working he is

No wonder he forgets to take lunch. This kind of crucial tweeting looks very taxing and definitely an excellent use of presidential time during a global crisis. Much more "purposeful" than... you know, educating himself on how bleach works and giving the country accurate public heath information.

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