- The Washington Times
Saturday, May 16, 2020

President Trump promoted a video Saturday showing a local TV reporter being harassed by protesters rallying against restrictions imposed to mitigate the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Trump shared the video from his Twitter account for the second time in 12 hours, despite having come under fire from reporters after first sharing the clip Friday evening.

Kevin Vesey, a reporter for News 12 Long Island, recorded the footage on Thursday while covering a protest held by people opposed to so-called lockdown orders meant to slow the spread of COVID-19, the contagious disease caused by the coronavirus.

In an excerpt Mr. Vesey shared on Twitter, several protesters are seen confronting the TV reporter and berating him with insults and taunts of “traitor” and “you’re the virus” before the clip concludes with a crowd chanting the phrase “fake news is not essential.”

Mr. Trump first shared Mr. Vesey’s tweet on Twitter late Friday, adding in capital letters: “FAKE NEWS IS NOT ESSENTIAL!”

The president shared the same tweet containing the clip again Saturday morning. “People can’t get enough of this,” Mr. Trump added the second time. “Great people!”

Other reporters criticized the president in the interim for having amplified what Mr. Vesey described as an “alarming” level of anger directed by the protesters at the media.

“87,000 Americans dead, 1.3 million infected, and the president is attacking a local TV news reporter who was trying to do his job and cover a protest,” reacted CNN anchor Jake Tapper. “Indecent, vile.”

Politico correspondent Tim Alberta referred to Mr. Trump’s retweet as “nauseating,” while the Washington Examiner’s Brad Polumbo called it “wildly unpresidential.”

“This is a terrible, despicable thing for the President to do,” echoed Boston magazine’s David S. Bernstein.

The original video shared by Mr. Vesey on Twitter had been shared more than 12 million times as of Saturday afternoon.

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.