Donald Trump abruptly ended a press conference on Monday after he accused a woman reporter of asking a “nasty” question, instructing her to instead “ask China” before marching away from the podium.
Trump took a question from CBS reporter Weijia Jiang, who asked him why he continued to claim that the U.S. was “doing far better than any other country when it comes to testing,” framing it as a “global competition” when so many Americans are still dying.
“Well, they’re losing their lives everywhere in the world. And maybe that’s a question you should ask China,” Trump told Jiang, who is Asian American. “Don’t ask me. Ask China that question, OK? When you ask them that question, you may get a very unusual answer.”
Trump then called on CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, who returned the floor to Jiang, who asked, “Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically?”
“I am not saying it specifically to anybody. I am saying it to anybody who would ask a nasty question like that,” Trump replied. When Collins approached the microphone to ask her question, Trump interrupted her and said he was calling on “the young lady in the back” instead, apparently as a punishment for ceding to Jiang. After Collins continued to insist that she have her turn, Trump got angry and walked away.
This reminds me of a moment in 2018 when a group of Dutch journalists refused to let U.S. ambassador Pete Hoekstra off the hook after asking him a question he didn’t want to answer. “This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions,” one reporter commented as Hoekstra looked desperately around for an exit. Imagine if, in America, journalists refused to move on until our elected officials actually answered the questions posed to them?