President Donald Trump repeatedly badgered and vilified members of the journalism during Monday’s White House briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, calling one “horrid” and another a “third-rate reporter.”
McClatchy reporter Francesca Chambers asked Trump a matter about the federal government’s new Paycheck Protection Program for tiny businesses, saying it had gotten off to a “confusing start.”
“I wish you’d ask the question differently,” Trump said, apparently instructing Chambers on the way to do her job. “Why don’t you say it’s gotten dead set an incredible start, but there are some little glitches, which by the way, are worked out? it’d be most nicer if you are doing that. But you’re just incapable of asking a matter in an exceedingly positive way.”
After repeatedly interrupting the reporter as she tried to clarify her question, Trump said, “I wish we had a good media during this country, and that we really don’t.” The president then moved on to the subsequent question, also from a female reporter, by saying: “Speaking of unfair, go ahead.”
In past briefings, Trump has disparaged and condescended to reporters, often women of color — including “PBS NewsHour’s” Yamiche Alcindor, who is Black, and CBS News’ Weijia Jiang, who is Asian.
At Monday’s briefing, he pointedly asked reporter Youyou Wang, who is Asian, if she was working for the Chinese government.
“Who are you working for, China? you’re employed for China, or are you with a newspaper?” Trump asked, to which the reporter noted she works for Phoenix TV in urban center.
At another point within the briefing, after Fox News correspondent Kristin Fisher noted that testing has “been an enormous issue” within the U.S. and asked when hospitals can expect a “quick turnaround” on test results, Trump gave an extended sigh and commenced his response with: “Are you ready? Are you ready?”
“Hospitals can do their own testing. States can do their own testing. … does one understand that?” Trump responded. “We’re the national. We’re not alleged to stand on street corners doing testing. they’re going to doctors, they’re going to hospitals, they’re going to the state. The state may be a more localized type of government. and that we have 50 of them,” he said, implying the reporter didn’t know what a state was.
“You should say congratulations, great job, rather than being so horrid within the way you ask a matter,” he added.
The us continues to guide countries worldwide in confirmed coronavirus cases — quite 360,000 as these days Monday. Governors have repeatedly criticized an absence of key medical equipment, like ventilators, and hospitals and doctors report a shortage of the non-public protective equipment they have to remain safe while treating patients with the virus.
Trump insisted Monday his administration was doing an excellent job with its coronavirus response.
“Nobody’s ever seen anything like what we’ve done,” he said, adding that governors are “very happy.” “They may even see [the media] and say, ‘Oh, oh we’re not happy.’ But they’re very happy on the phone.”
At one point, a reporter asked Trump a few recent Health and Human Services inspector general’s report that found hospitals face severe shortages of medical supplies to treat the coronavirus. Trump grilled the reporter about the name of the officer (she didn’t know) and later grilled another reporter about when the officer had been appointed.
When Trump later asked how long the officer had been in government, ABC News’ Jon Karl answered that Christi Grimm, the principal deputy officer who signed the report, had also served within the previous administration. She has worked within the Office of the officer since 1999, in step with the HHS website.
“Oh, you didn’t tell me that,” Trump quipped. (Karl had earlier, correctly, told Trump that the officer had been appointed to her current role in January.) “You mean the Obama administration, many thanks for telling me that. See there’s a typical fake news deal.”
“You’re a third-rate reporter, and what you simply said may be a disgrace,” Trump went on, later adding: “You will never make it.”