President Trump held a press briefing at the White House Monday to deliver an update on the administration’s efforts in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. It was all pretty basic back-and-forth between Trump and the White House correspondents present, until toward the end. As happens, one reporter tried to make an answer from Trump into a personal affront against her specifically because of her ethnicity. It didn’t end well.
CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang tried to pick a fight with the president after he responded to a question she asked. She used her time to put him on the spot with a pointed, personal question. Addressing his way of speaking when he updates the press on efforts being made by the White House coronavirus task force, she wanted to know why he used language that sounds competitive against other countries. He often says the United States is doing more testing than any other country, for example. She pressed the issue and asked, “Why does that matter? Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives?”
Trump turned the question back on her and suggested she ask China about results. Jiang is an Asian American, born in China and raised in West Virginia. She was two years old when her family immigrated to the United States.
“Well, they’re losing their lives everywhere in the world. And maybe that’s a question you should ask China,” Trump said. “Don’t ask me. Ask China that question. OK? When you ask them that question, you may get a very unusual answer.”
She didn’t like that answer and took it personally. She was determined to turn his answer into a racist comment. She lowered her face mask so that her face was exposed and shot back, “Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically — that I should ask China?” Trump responded by saying, “I’m not saying it specifically to anybody.” I’m saying it to anybody that would ask a nasty question like that.” Jiang argued that is was not a “nasty question” and again asked why it matters. Bored with the exchange by then, Trump called on CNN’s Kaitlan Collins who was sitting near Jiang. Collins did what is now something the agitators in the White House press corps do – she said she’d give time to Jiang to continue the line of questioning. So, since she wasn’t doing her job, Trump started to skip her and move on to yet another reporter but Collins pushed back, saying it was her turn. There was a little pushback from Trump as he said she missed her turn. Then, he’d finally had enough and ended the press briefing and left the podium.
Keep in mind that Trump was literally standing by a large sign that read “AMERICA LEADS THE WORLD IN TESTING”. Clearly, this was the focus of the press briefing. Trump made a point of telling reporters that anyone who wants a test can get a test.
The line of questioning by Jiang appeared to be much like her usual questioning of Trump. She has a chip on her shoulder that is frequently on display – at least when the cameras are rolling. She is, frankly, often quite rude when she addresses the president. She jabs her finger in his direction when she escalates her tone and often refers to him as Mr. Trump, not President Trump.
While Jiang took a cheap shot and tried to make it a racial thing against Trump, as his opposition is fond of doing, Trump also referenced China with a dismissive answer to a reporter before Jiang had her turn. Chinese hackers may be targeting technology related to vaccine research, Trump was told by another reporter earlier in the press briefing. Trump responded with, “What else is new?” And, when asked if he was interested in sitting down with Chinese officials and renegotiating a trade deal, as China is now reported to be pushing for, by yet another reporter, Trump made it clear he is not. There was no question during Monday’s press briefing – Trump is not happy with China.
Trump’s opponents in the media and in the Washington swamp were quick to jump on him for his tiff with Jiang. Instead of being pleased that Trump is holding China accountable for the lack of transparency and lies spread about the coronavirus pandemic which originated in that country, the anti-Trump forces prefer to stoke distractions.
This isn’t the first time that Jiang has taken the spotlight. Much like CNN reporters Jim Acosta and Kaitlan Collins, she plays the part of an agitator, not a reporter. She and Trump have a history. Back in 2018, you may remember that he told Jiang to “sit down” during a Sept. 26 press conference that year. She was refusing to relinquish the microphone and continued talking when Trump tried to move on. So, on September 30, 2018, when she announced her pregnancy, she took a shot at Trump. That’s right – she politicized her pregnancy announcement on social media.
Personal news: She made a very public debut during this presser, so it’s a good time to share my husband and I are thrilled to meet our baby girl in January! Can’t wait to teach her when a man orders you to “sit down” because he doesn’t like what you’re saying, do anything but 🙂 pic.twitter.com/dZ7QiUYhlt
— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) October 1, 2018
Jiang is the reporter who asked about the label of “Kung Fu Flu” that she claimed was going around the White House. Why just paint Trump as a racist if you can paint everyone in the White House with the same broad brush? In April of this year, she asked Trump about his criticism of China’s response to the coronavirus. It ended with him instructing her, “voice down, please” as she raised her voice to him.
Trump previously berated Jiang and her network during a separate press conference in April. During the exchange, Trump expressed frustration at China’s coronavirus response and said: “It should have been told to us early.”
Jiang focused in on the administration’s response to the pandemic, adding that when Trump issued travel restrictions, “the virus was already here” in the US.
“How many cases were in the United States when I did my ban?” Trump asked. As Jiang attempted to respond, Trump told her to keep her “voice down, please.”
Weijia Jiang is going the route of Jim Acosta – trying to make a name for herself not by showing professionalism as a White House reporter but as an agitator. She shows little respect for the office of the presidency because of the occupant. She isn’t interested in gathering information, she is more interested in publicly fighting with the most powerful man on earth.
President Trump speaks in competitive terms because he is a businessman, not a politician. It’s nothing new for him, he did it long before the coronavirus pandemic became news. He prefers to tout the United States in the best light, as opposed to the press (and anti-Trumpers in Washington) who are happy to spread Chinese propaganda if it shows the Trump administration in a bad light. It doesn’t matter if the reporter is white, Asian American, male, or female.
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 11, 2020