(USA Features) Sen. Marco Rubio defending a tweet earlier this week containing examples in which he criticized American journalists for finding “glee” in the rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases.
“Some in our media can’t contain their glee & delight in reporting that the U.S. has more #CoronaVirus cases than #China,” Rubio tweeted on Sunday. “Beyond being grotesque, its bad journalism We have NO IDEA how many cases China really has but without any doubt its significantly more than why they admit to.”
The tweet was heavily criticized by Democrats and liberal journalists, but he stood by it.
He also slammed U.S. media outlets for unquestionably reporting China’s coronavirus pandemic figures though U.S. intelligence agencies have said they are dramatically under-represented.
During an appearance on MSNBC, host Stephanie Ruhle asked the Florida Republican “why on earth” he would make such an accusation.
“I need to ask you this because I’m a journalist. We’re not just some personalities. You called out journalism. And I need to understand why on earth you did this,” she said.
“Well, because there are some journalists that were doing exactly what I said,” Rubio noted, adding that he also tweeted out a series of posts showing journalists mocking the administration and America’s interest in being “Number 1.”
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 30, 2020
Ruhle then accused Rubio of engaging in similar finger-pointing that he has condemned in others, though he also shot that down, noting that some American journalists were harming U.S. national security by trusting and parroting Chinese disease figures.
Yeah, but the difference is that this is an ongoing deal here, with what we’re dealing with right now, and that is a Chinese propaganda effort to put out that they have handled this perfectly and we have not — and … the national security and the national interest of the United States does not stop,” he said.
He also said that people were “taking the Chinese number of 80-something thousand infections and saying, ‘look how great they did it and look how bad we’re doing it’ — and that’s not only wrong, that’s a national security issue. We know that that is a propaganda-influenced effort that they’re undertaking, along with Putin in Russia and even the Iranians. And national security and the national interest of this country does not stop — that’s an ongoing concern even amidst this crisis.”
In a classified report released to the White House, three U.S. intelligence officers concluded that China has concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, underreporting both total cases and fatalities from the disease, Fox News reported.