Donald Trump responded combatively to CBS News corespondent Weijia Jiang’s question in a press briefing. He told the Asian-American reporter to ‘ask China’ when she questioned him about COVID-19 testing.
This isn’t the first time that President Donald Trump has talked down to CBS White House correspondent Weijia Jiang, 35, for asking tough questions, but it was certainly the ugliest. During a May 11 coronavirus update, Chinese-born Jiang asked the 73-year-old about why he seemingly makes the U.S. COVID-19 testing progress into a global competition against other countries. He then told the Chinese-born, Asian-American journalist that her question was “nasty” and repeatedly told her to “ask China” in a non-answer. And it all went downhill from there.
Jiang — with a protective mask over her face that left only her eyes showing — asked, “You said many times that the U.S. is doing far better than any other country when it comes to testing,” and Trump interrupted to give a bold “Yes!” She then continued, “Why does that matter? Why is this a global competition to you if every day many Americans are still losing their lives and we’re still seeing more cases every day?”
Trump responded to Jiang by telling her “Well they’re losing their lives everywhere in the world and maybe that’s a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me, ask China that question, okay? When you ask them that question you’ll get a very unusual answer,” with his voice becoming more incensed as he spoke. He then pointed to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins to take the next question, but Jiang wasn’t done. Collins could be heard asking Jiang if she wanted to go up, as she clearly didn’t get her answer and wanted a follow-up question.
After @weijia asks President Trump why he sees the pandemic response as a "global competition," he tells her: "Maybe that's a question you should ask China. Don't ask me, ask China that question, okay?" https://t.co/9T8aUPjUrs pic.twitter.com/aDQ5cwWvn0
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 11, 2020
— Deuce (@Mr_Biggs26) May 11, 2020
“Sir, why are you saying that to me specifically? That I should ask China?” Jiang pressed on. Trump fired back, “I’m not saying that to you specifically. I’m saying that to anybody who would ask a nasty question like that.” Jiang responded, “That’s not a nasty question,” as Trump talked over her and told Collins, “Please go ahead” with her question. Then when Trump saw it was Collins — another female reporter who he has sparred with when given tough questions — he decided to skip over her. Collins said “I have two questions,” and Trump said “No, we’ll go over here,” pointing to another correspondent. “I just wanted to let my colleague finish,” she told Trump of Jiang, and Trump put and end to his press conference right then and there, storming off.
Former President Barack Obama‘s Chief Strategist @davidaxelrod tweeted, “What a finish. He dismisses a question from @weijia, a Chinese-American reporter, about why he boasts about our testing versus others by telling her to ask China. And when @kaitlancollins @CNN approached the mic to ask her questions, the @POTUS fled.” MSNBC’s Joy Reid pointed out, “Notably, the woman Trump told to ‘ask China’ is an Asian-American woman, and the second reporter, also a woman. Gotta say, Trump always stays on brand, and he never even tries to improve what the average pluralistic adult thinks of him, because clearly he doesn’t care.”
This isn’t the first time Trump has been patronizing to CBS News’ Jiang during a COVID-19 news conference, in the past telling her to “relax” and “keep your voice down” amid tough questioning. During an Apr. 19 briefing, she asked why Trump didn’t warn Americans that “the virus was spreading like wildfire through the month of February,” while instead he was holding rallies with thousands of people.
“Why did you wait so long to warn them and why did you not have social distancing until March 16?” she continued. Trump first demanded to know “who are you with?” He then talked about his late January travel ban on incoming flights from China. Jiang corrected the president, telling him it was only for “Chinese nationals. But by the way, not Americans who were also coming in from China.” Trump initially scolded her, saying “Nice and easy. Nice and easy, just relax,” and then got meaner, saying “Keep your voice down,” after she caught him in his misinformation.