CNN host John Berman panicked Tuesday morning when, during a panel discussion on his program about President Donald Trump, a producer played a clip of the president removing his face mask.
After being discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, Trump promptly returned to the White House, where his wife, first lady Melania Trump, has been battling her own coronavirus infection.
Upon walking onto a balcony at the White House, Trump, still technically infected with COVID-19, removed his face mask before saluting Marine One as the presidential helicopter departed the White House lawn.
What did Berman say?
The CNN host claimed Trump's actions will "kill people."
"We're looking at 210,000 Americans dead, we're seeing a rise in new daily cases, and the president, in that sunset boulevard gesture, whipped his mask off in front of the American people on the nightly news last night," Berman began.
That's when the clip of Trump removing his mask was put on screen.
"You know, take it off," Berman begged. "Please, don't even put it on the screen. Please take it off because that's going to kill people."
"Don't put it on the screen! That's going to KILL people!" -- CNN's John Berman frantically orders producer not t… https://t.co/uuoIrR8Oiy— Mark Finkelstein (@Mark Finkelstein)1601981009.0
It's unclear, however, exactly what Berman believes will "kill people."
He was either referring to the fact that Trump could infect those around him, or he was suggesting that viewers who saw Trump remove his mask would emulate the president, placing themselves at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Berman was not the only CNN personality to panic over Trump's mask removal.
CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins drew significance to Trump's actions while speaking on air with CNN host Erin Burnett. Collins said:
[L]et us remind viewers now that the president is on steroids and a drug that fewer than 10 people outside of clinical trials have gotten inside the United States to deal with coronavirus. He had a level of treatment and a level of care that most Americans would not get. That's understandable — he is the President of the United States, obviously everyone expects that.
[W]hat the president is portraying by taking his mask off when he gets back to the Truman balcony to give this grand return to the White House is that everything is fine and, as he said, don't let coronavirus control your life. But that is very much still a president who has coronavirus. Despite the lights and the flags and the staged entrance that the president wants to create, he still has coronavirus and he is only a few days into the diagnosis.
In response, actress Kirstie Alley ripped into Collins.
"What would you like him to do? Start crying like a little b***h so you can report that he's ...crying like a little b***h? He could have a hazmat suit on and you would report ... he's a f***ing lunatic in a hazmat suit. You hate him. Just report that," Alley wrote on social media.