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Coronavirus: Trump plays video praising his actions at bizarre White House briefing

A defensive Donald Trump turned to heavily edited video clips to contend his coronavirus response was not as slow as Joe Biden and other leading Democrats contend, as he came to the White House briefing room itching for a fight.

The video skipped though a timeline graphic that showed developments in January and February, but did not play comments from the president during those months. He spent much of both months downplaying the threat from the disease, saying it was like the flu and would "miraculously" disappear when the weather warmed up. He has since reversed himself on those statements, which were not included in the campaign-like video.

"Everything we did was right," Mr Trump said, blaming state governors for "not having ventilators" and promising that the federal government has "10,000 that are ready to rock."

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In a twist, Anthony Fauci, the president's top infectious disease expert, had a tense back-and-forth with a reporter about whether his attempts to clean up a Sunday television interview remark that prompted the White House to deny he might be fired. The exchange ended with Mr Fauci flashing an unkind look at the journalist during the start of a tense Covid-19 briefing.

The president spent a healthy amount of his opening remarks at his daily briefing defending the federal response he has overseen.

"On January 21, not one person has died," Mr Trump said. "I'm supposed to shut down ... the largest economy in the world?"

Before playing a number of video clips the White House put together touting his response, the president, in full campaign rally mode, said: "We're going to get back to the reason we're here." Then the video played.

He contended again that his decision to ban travellers from China, where the disease first went public, shows he acted "early." That came amid more Democratic criticisms that his response was too slow, but the president came to the briefing room seemingly offended by media coverage of the federal response he is overseeing, saying: "I got brutalized by the press."

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