Donald Trump told a Chinese-American reporter to “ask China” after she questioned him about why he was making the COVID-19 crisis into a competition.
Weijia Jiang, who has previously clashed with the president, was left astounded by Donald Trump‘s answer as he then refused to allow another female reporter to ask a question because she gave Ms Jiang time to respond.
During Tuesday’s daily White House coronavirus press briefing, the CBS reporter asked: “You’ve said many times that the US is doing far better than any other country when it comes to testing.
“Why does that matter? Why is this a global competition to you when every day Americans are losing their lives and we’re still seeing more cases, every day?”
Mr Trump responded: “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.
“When you ask them that question you may get a very unusual answer.”
The reporter looked shocked by his answer as the president pointed to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, who asked her colleague if she wanted a follow-up question.
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Ms Jiang said to the president: “Why are you saying that to me – specifically – that I should ask China?”
Mr Trump said: “I’m not saying it specifically to anybody, I’m saying it to anybody that asks a nasty question.”
“That’s not a nasty question,” Ms Jiang answered.
The president then refused to let Ms Collins ask her questions, claiming she did not respond when pointed to, with fellow female reporter Yamiche Alcindor trying to let Ms Collins speak.
Mr Trump then shut down the press conference and walked out of the Rose Garden, leaving reporters open-mouthed.
The president has faced criticism over his treatment of the White House press corp, especially of female reporters.
Ms Jiang previously came to blows with the president in mid-April when he told her to “keep your voice down” after she asked him about what he did to warn Americans in February that COVID-19 was spreading “like wildfire”.
The president told her “nice and easy, just relax” then asked her “who are you with?” and demanded she tell him the number of cases in the US when he implemented a ban on travel from China.
When Ms Jiang pressed him on whether he knew COVID-19 was going to spread and become a pandemic, he said: “Keep your voice down, please. Keep your voice down.”
In a New York Post interview last week, Mr Trump said neither Ms Jiang or her colleague Paula Reid were a “Donna Reed” – the actress who played a small town housewife in 60s sitcom The Donna Reed Show.
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In late April, Ms Collins had a similar spat with Mr Trump when he cut off her question about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by saying: “No, that’s enough. The problem is, you don’t write the truth.”
When she tried to interject, he said: “No, not CNN. I told you. CNN is fake news. Don’t talk to me.”
The next day she was ordered to move to the back of the room during a press conference and when she refused, she was told the Secret Service would get involved.
Mr Trump then cut the briefing short and did not take any questions.