Donald Trump was back at the podium on Monday night for another contentious coronavirus briefing. After sparring with journalists, an element that has come to define his regular press conferences, the impeached president ended his meeting with reporters abruptly.
What set Trump off this time was a question from CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang. The 36-year-old—who was born in China but grew up in West Virginia, according to a New York Times wedding profile—asked Trump why he often touted the amount of coronavirus testing being done in the United States as a comparison to other nations.
“You said many times that the U.S. is doing far better than any other country when it comes to testing. Why does that matter?” Jiang queried. “Why is this a global competition to you if everyday Americans are still losing their lives and we’re still seeing more cases every day.”
Trump, clearly aggravated, shot back at Jiang saying, “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?”
He then tried to move on to CNN reporter Kaitlyn Collins, but Collins respectfully deferred to her fellow White House reporter who wanted to know why Trump would tell her, specifically, to ask China her question.
“I’m not saying it specifically to anybody,” Trump replied. “I’m saying it to anybody that asks a nasty question.”
Trump then got upset with Collins for allowing Jiang to finish her question, likely realizing he had entered into yet another PR nightmare. When Collins pressed Trump on giving her the opportunity to ask her question after he acknowledged her, he abruptly ended the meeting.
This morning, likely witnessing the blowback from his exchange on social media and morning news shows, Trump tweeted, “Asian Americans are VERY angry at what China has done to our Country, and the World. Chinese Americans are the most angry of all. I don’t blame them!”
Monday was not the first time Jiang addressed dog whistles at the White House. In March the reporter tweeted, “This morning a White House official referred to #Coronavirus as the ‘Kung-Flu’ to my face. Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back.”