On Wednesday, CNN reporter Drew Griffin and his camera crew were conducting a live interview from Beaumont, Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, reporting on the devastation that continues to ravage the region. While on camera, a truck plowed into a flooded drainage ditch — the water was so high, the driver mistook it for a paved road — and began floating away.
Grabbing a rope, Griffin rushed to help the man before his truck disappeared under water.
“I want to thank these guys for saving my life,” said Jerry Sumrall, the driver.
On Saturday, Donald Trump essentially called the very same media a bunch of cowards.
Like all of Donald Trump’s childish insults, it was unprompted and apropos of absolutely nothing. It came during remarks in which he rightly praised the efforts of the Coast Guard in rescuing thousands of people from flooded homes and rooftops across the region.
“I hear the Coast Guard saved 11,000 people,” he said during a press conference on Saturday during his second trip to the Houston area. “By going into winds that the media would not go into. They will not go into those winds,” he added, smirking.
If Donald Trump could be bothered to watch or read any news other than Fox & Friends, he would have seen reporters doing exactly that. From the moment Harvey made landfall in Texas last week through today, reporters have been on the ground risking life and limb to bring information to millions of Americans in the path of the storm, and tens of millions more watching from afar.
And while nobody is suggesting reporters are any braver than the selfless volunteers who enlist with the coast guard or local fire and police departments, it’s worth noting that reporters are going to places around Houston that even Donald Trump’s own administration officials have yet to tread.
Roughly a dozen potentially dangerous Superfund sites that flooded as a result of Harvey have yet to be inspected by EPA officials, but the Associated Press has already sent teams of reporters to conduct their own inspection of at least seven of them, some by boat.
Donald Trump’s inability to refrain from insulting the media even while on a presidential visit to a city still reeling from the largest storm in recorded U.S. history is both unsurprising and unbecoming. Branding the media “cowards” is especially ironic given Donald Trump’s well-documented efforts to dodge the draft during the Vietnam War, and his repeated shots at actual Army veterans like John McCain and gold star families like the parents of fallen hero Capt. Humayun Khan.
As for reporters, they have been placing themselves in danger in order to cover the news long before Hurricane Harvey. Most recently, some newsrooms offered “hostile environment training” — typically reserved for reporters in war zones or terrorism hotspots — to their journalists who were sent to cover Donald Trump’s campaign rallies, where violence and threats towards the media were commonplace.