CBS News White House correspondent Ben Tracy declared on social media Monday that he "felt safer" reporting from the communist regime of North Korea than he does currently covering the White House after President Donald Trump and several administration staffers tested positive for COVID-19.
What are the details?
"I felt safer reporting in North Korea than I currently do reporting at The White House," Tracy tweeted. "This is just crazy."
The journalist was lambasted by conservatives for the comment. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) replied, "That's because you were supporting the regime."
Tracy later clarified amid backlash, "For context folks, this is in reference to the COVID-19 outbreak at The White House."
For context folks, this is in reference to the COVID-19 outbreak at The White House.— Ben Tracy (@Ben Tracy) 1601931122.0
One person wrote, "I'm pretty sure you'd rather run the risk getting COVID in the USA before getting it in the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]...from what I hear a bullet is the only treatment option there." They attached an AFP article from last month citing U.S. intelligence that North Korea has "issued shoot-to-kill orders to prevent the coronavirus entering the country from China."
Republican attorney and frequent Fox News guest Harmeet Dhillon tweeted to Tracy, "Yes the White House is just like North Korea, other than the beatings, starvation, lack of electricity, organ harvesting, punishment of your parents, your children, your extended family on the basis of your network's reporting. You are a clown."
Yes the White House is just like North Korea, other than the beatings, starvation, lack of electricity, organ harve… https://t.co/CA10uC1fwl— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@Harmeet K. Dhillon) 1601916221.0
Saagar Enjeti, co-host of The Hill's "Rising with Krystal and Saagar" added, "Otto Warmbier was unavailable for comment."
Otto Warmbier was unavailable for comment https://t.co/DxoeQFNszD— Saagar Enjeti (@Saagar Enjeti) 1601918282.0
As TheBlaze previously reported:
[American college student] Otto Warmbier was arrested in 2016 and sentenced to 15 years hard labor in North Korea after being accused of stealing a propaganda poster while visiting the country on a guided tour. He was released after 17 months, but when he arrived in the US, he was in a coma and never regained consciousness — dying six days after his return home.
His parents said that when Otto arrived, he was making "inhuman noises" like "howling" and "jerking violently." They also contend that he was blind, deaf, and that it looked like someone had "taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth."
Tracy is not the first White House correspondent to say that covering President Trump during the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most dangerous jobs on earth.
A few weeks ago, ABC News White House correspondent Jon Karl described covering an indoor rally for the president as such: "This is not like embedding with the Marines in Fallujah. It is like you are taking your family with you to Fallujah."