‘Ask China’: Trump abruptly ends news conference after reporter question on coronavirus testing

President Donald Trump abruptly turned and walked away from the lectern at a White House news briefing Monday after telling a reporter to "ask China" in response to a question about U.S. coronavirus testing capacity.

"If people want to get tested, they get tested. We have the greatest capacity in the world not even close," Trump said. The U.S. has conducted more than 9 million coronavirus tests, according to The COVID Tracking Project. While that is the highest raw total for any nation, it trails the per capita testing of several other nations.

"Why does that matter?" CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang asked in response to Trump's claim. "Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives and we're still seeing more cases every day?"

"Well, they're losing their lives everywhere in the world. And maybe that's a question you should ask China," Trump replied. "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 reporter Kaitlan Collins, who gave Jiang a chance to ask a follow-up question.

"Sir, why are you saying that to me specifically? That I should ask China?" asked Jiang, who was raised in West Virginia after immigrating to the U.S. from China at age 2.

Fact check:How many COVID-19 tests are 'needed’ to reopen?

"I'm not saying it specifically to anybody. I'm saying it to anybody that would ask a nasty question like that," Trump said.

Trump then called on PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor, prompting an objection from Collins.

"But you called on me," Collins told Trump.

"I did and you didn't respond, and now I'm calling on the young lady in the back, please," Trump said.

"I just wanted to let my colleague finish, but can I ask you a question?" Collins persisted after Alcindor gestured for her to continue.

At that point, Trump thanked everyone for attending and left the Rose Garden.

'Keep your voice down':Trump has another confrontation with a reporter at coronavirus briefing

Trump has had testy exchanges with Jiang, Collins and Alcindor at previous news briefings, as well as other reporters.

"Keep your voice down," he told Jiang after she asked about his early comments downplaying the threat posed by the virus.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself," he told her on April 3 after she asked about White House adviser Jared Kushner's contention that a national reserve of medical supplies belonged to the federal government and not the states.

Trump seemed perturbed by the three reporters' willingness to cooperate by allowing their colleagues to finish their question even as the president tried to move on.

"The Lamestream Media is truly out of control. Look how they work (conspire!) together. They are the Enemy of the People, but don’t worry, we will WIN in November!" Trump tweeted along with a video clip of the exchange.

Some on Twitter said Trump that telling an Asian-American reporter to "ask China" smacked of racism and Jiang's question as to why he told her that specifically indicated she shared that concern.

Trump faced similar criticism when he suggested at a February 2017 news conference that African-American reporter April Ryan set up a meeting with black lawmakers, asking, "Are they friends of yours?"

But the president's "ask China" response is reflective a larger strategy to deflect any blame for administration's handling of the pandemic onto China, a chief U.S. rival and the place where the outbreak began.

"This is China’s fault. The virus came from China and China covered it up. Because China lied about the extent of the virus, our public health officials acted late," a 57-page memo prepared for the National Republican Senatorial Committee advised Republicans to tell reporters who asked if Trump was to blame for the outbreak, which has killed more than 80,000 Americans.

'Dangerous dynamic':Coronavirus threatens new 'Cold War' between US and China

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/05/12/trump-tells-reporter-weijia-jiang-ask-china-covid-19-testing/3114144001/

News Related


Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »