After President Donald Trump told a White House reporter not to be a "cutie pie," the term began to trend on Twitter Friday night.
Trump used the phrase to admonish ABC's Jonathan Karl during a press conference after being pressed on whether he could guarantee COVID-19 patients in hard-hit states would be supplied with needed ventilators. The president answered the initial question by insisting the country was "in great shape" and suggested that an excess of ventilators could be produced.
"We've distributed vast numbers of ventilators, and we're prepared to do vast numbers. I think we're in great shape," Trump said. "I hope that's the case. I hope that we're going to have leftovers so we can help other people, other countries."
"So, everybody who needs one will be able to get a ventilator?" asked Karl a second time.
"Look, don't be a cutie pie, ok?" Trump said. "You know, 'everybody who needs one.' Nobody's ever done what we've done, nobody's done anything like we've been able to do... I wouldn't tell me what you're telling me, you know, being a wise guy."
The phrase quickly took off on Twitter, with Karl himself remarking that it was "not the response I expected."
Other users admonished the president for his choice of words, while Trump supporters praised him for using the phrase.
"#cutiepie Yeah, that's what you say to a reporter asking about ventilators to keep people alive. This man has got to go," user @LindaPatch tweeted.
"Standing response to every #CNN question going forward until, well... the end of time #DontBeACutiePie," tweeted actor and ardent Trump supporter James Woods.
The shortage of ventilators has been a frequent topic of discussion during the pandemic, with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo saying that the state could need 30,000 additional units for hospitals that are increasingly overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.
New York state has reported the highest number of U.S. COVID-19 cases by far, with over 46,000 of the 104,000 as of Friday night. Medical experts believe that around 5 percent of patients could need ventilators to have a chance at surviving the virus.
Trump pushed back on the medical experts Thursday, telling Fox News host Sean Hannity that he had a "feeling" that a large number of the potentially life-saving devices would not be needed.
"I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said for some areas are just bigger than they're going to be," said Trump. "I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, at a major hospital sometimes they'll have two ventilators. All of a sudden they're saying, 'Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'"
However, efforts to ramp up the production of ventilators have moved forward, with Trump announcing Friday that he was invoking the Defense Production Act to force General Motors to produce the devices.
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.