President Donald Trump abruptly ended a White House briefing after another confrontation with CBS News’ White House correspondent Weijia Jiang on Monday.
“You’ve said many times that the U.S. is doing far better than any other country when it comes to testing,” Jiang said during the briefing. “Why does that matter? Why is this a global competition to you if, every day, Americans are still losing their lives, and we’re still seeing more cases every day?”
“Well, they’re losing their lives everywhere in the world, and maybe that’s a question you should ask China,” Trump retorted.
But Jiang, who is Chinese American, didn’t let Trump get away with that answer.
“Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically, that I should ask China?” she asked.
“I’m not saying specifically to anybody,” Trump defended. “I’m saying it to anybody that would ask a nasty question like that.”
“That’s not a nasty question,” Jiang said.
Her attempts to follow up were ignored.
Despite several reporters, including CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor, trying to cede their time to Jiang, Trump ignored them, abruptly ending the conference.
The President faced immediate criticism over Twitter, many calling the incident “racist” and a “temper tantrum,” as well as applauding Jiang and the other reporters for their calm temperaments.
Other critics included former President Barack Obama’s Chief Strategist, David Axelrod, and MSNBC’s Joy Reid, who both noted the connection of Trump asking an Asian American reporter to refer her questions to China, as well as the ongoing trend of Trump’s dismissive attitude towards women reporters.
This isn’t the first confrontation between Jiang and Trump.
The President told Jiang to “keep her voice down” during an April coronavirus task force briefing, complaining that he was being treated “unfairly.” (Jiang was calm throughout the entire exchange, and had not raised her voice or asked inappropriate questions.)
The same month, during another briefing, Trump called her tone while asking a question “very nasty,” then said, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself.” (Again, Jiang’s tone was not unusual, and she remained collected throughout the briefing.)
Jiang had also called attention to how coronavirus, or COVID-19, was being talked about by White House officials in March.
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