US President Donald Trump damn near threw a temper tantrum today, ending a press conference early after being challenged by a female Asian-American reporter.
It was Trump’s first press conference since late April. The president addressed media from the White House rose garden, in front of a huge sign proclaiming the US “leads the world in testing” and surrounded by swabs and other testing equipment.
Weijia Jiang, a White House correspondent for CBS News, asked the president why it “matters” that America is the first in testing, given more than 80,000 people have died from COVID-19.
“Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives and we are still seeing more cases every day?” she asked.
Trump fired back: “Well, they are losing their lives everywhere in the world. Maybe that is a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me. Ask China that question. When you ask China that question you may get a very unusual answer.”
He moved on to another reporter, Kaitlan Collins of CNN, who instead paused to allow Jiang to follow up with a second question.
“Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically?” Jiang asked.
Trump retorted: “I am not saying it specifically to anybody. I am saying it to anybody who would ask a nasty question like that.”
The president then tried to move on to a third reporter, who paused to allow Collins (the second reporter, if you’re getting mixed up here), to ask her question.
Trump didn’t like that, either, and chided her, before deciding to end the press conference early and storm off.
It is truly tantrum-level stuff.
The final minute of Trump’s news conference this evening pic.twitter.com/m6oGh1q9VF
— Axios (@axios) May 11, 2020
On Twitter, Jiang praised her colleagues for their solidarity.
— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) May 12, 2020
And elsewhere on Twitter, Trump’s tantrum is being as “disgraceful” and “racist” – but only by those who didn’t like Trump, anyway. His fan base is pretty keen on slamming the reporters for *checks notes* asking questions.
Anyway. America leads the world on testing – which it does. The US will pass 10 million tests this week, nearly double the number of any other country. (Edit: but yes, as several people have pointed out, it’s testing per capita which really matters, and 10 million tests equates to just 2.74 percent of the population.)
Still, it’s not exactly an encouraging figure when more than 80,000 people have died from the disease, more than 1.38 million have been infected, rates of new infections are barely slowing down, and Trump is urging the states to reopen.