NBC reporter on Trump's coronavirus interview with Hannity: “President Trump himself is the main one spreading disinformation”

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Citation From the March 5, 2020, edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe

WILLIE GEIST (CO-HOST): Let's talk about the president calling into Hannity last night and just riffing on a global pandemic that Dr. Fauci has said will become a pandemic at some point. Is there any strategy? Is there anyone in the White House who can say to Donald Trump, and I know this has sort of become a moot question over the years, but is there anyone who can say, hey, this is too important for you to be riffing off the top of your head?

GEOFF BENNETT (NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT): Well, look, if someone is telling the president that, it's clear he's not listening. Remember last week when we reported that the vice president's office was going to use a heavier hand in controlling all of the coronavirus messaging coming out of this White House. Well, then, as it is now it appears, President Trump himself is the main one spreading disinformation, completely contradicting the information and the data put out by public health experts. The president disputing the 3.4% data-driven assessment of the overall coronavirus death rate saying it's a false number, offering no evidence to back it up, only saying it's a "hunch."

He's also completely discarding, as you rightly point out, the advice from public health experts to people saying, if you feel sick, stay at home. President Trump saying that people have gone to work and somehow have gotten better. He also said that there's been a death reported in New York. There have been no deaths reported in New York from coronavirus. There has been that case that Joe mentioned. So clearly the president is trying to put a rosy sheen on things, trying to reassure the public that the administration has it under control, but he's doing it in a way where he's spreading disinformation.

That said, though, public health experts do say the administration is doing a couple of things right, in part in naming Debbie Birx, the Obama appointee, the State Department ambassador at large. She brings 30-plus years of real-life experience. She is described to me as being someone who is serious, sober-minded, a real professional. She is now coordinating the day-to-day coronavirus response. I've talked to people who say that they hope that she's fully empowered to do the job.