Daily US Times: US President Donald Trump abruptly ended an hour-long press conference after a contentious exchange in which he asked an Asian-American journalist to “ask China” about her question and then refused to take a query from another White House reporter.
Reporter Weijia Jiang asked the President why he sees coronavirus testing as a global competition when more than 80,000 Americans have died. Jiang is the White House correspondent for CBS News.
Jiang was born in China but immigrated to the US when she was two. When she asked the President the question during the White House Rose Garden press conference, he replied: “Maybe that’s a question you should ask China. “Don’t ask me. Ask China that question, OK?”
Trump then attempted to jump to CNN’s White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, but Jiang interjected with a follow-up question.
“Sir, why are you saying that to me specifically?”, Jiang asked Trump.
He replied: “I’m telling you. I’m not saying it specifically to anybody. I’m saying it to anybody that asks a nasty question.”
Jiang said: “That’s not a nasty question. Why does it matter?”
Trump then move on to take a question from another reporter. This time Collins approached the mocrophone.
She said: ”I have two questions.” “No, it’s OK,” Trump replied.
Collins said: “But you pointed to me. I have two questions, Mr. President. You called on me.”
Trump replied: “I did. And you didn’t respond, and now I’m calling on the young lady in the back.” “I just wanted to let my colleague finish,” Collins explained.
“But can I ask you a question?” Collins asked.
Trump then ended the press conference, saying “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much”, and left the Rose Garden.
Mr Trump was strongly criticized by critics for the behavior he displayed.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called the exchange “pretty pathetic” and wrote on Twitter that Trump “is a coward who tears down others to make himself feel powerful.”
Some critics said the President’s remarks to Jiang were racist and some other suggested that the exchange was laced with sexism.
This is not the first time Jiang faced racism in the White House as she wrote on twitter that in March, a White House official had referred to the coronavirus as the “Kung-flu” to her face. Jiang did not name the officials.
Olivia Nuzzi, Washington correspondent for New York magazine tweeted: “The President’s unprofessionalism is always revealed most clearly when he is interacting with female reporters.”