Washington: US President Donald Trump abruptly halted a press conference on Monday after being challenged by an Asian American reporter whom he told: “Don’t ask me. Ask China.”
Weijia Jiang, who works for CBS news, had challenged President Trump as to why he views coronavirus testing as a global competition given that more than 80,000 US citizens have lost their lives to the pandemic ever since its outbreak.
This was Trump’s first media briefing since April 27 in the White House rose garden with signs behind him that read “America leads the world in testing.”
Jiang asked Trump, who wasn’t wearing a mask, “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?” Trump gave a terse response: “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.”
Subsequently, Trump called upon another journalist, Kaitlan Collins of CNN, to ask her question. But Jiang pressed forth with her query and interjected the President: “Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically?”
To this, Trump said: “I am not saying it specifically to anybody. I am saying it to anybody who would ask a nasty question like that.”
Collins, at the microphone, then tried to ask her question, but Trump said he was now looking to someone at the back. As Collins repeatedly objected, the president turned on his heel and left the podium.
Jiang and Collins wore masks to the news conference, as did most reporters, following the recent reports that two White House employees – an aide to Vice President Mike Pence and a valet to the president – had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Following the contentious exchange, Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California tweeted saying, “Asian Americans are Americans.”