President Trump has been experimenting with new formats for holding press briefings since the daily COVID-19 Chinese coronavirus task force briefings devolved into daily brawls with obnoxious reporters deliberately distorting Trump’s comments to make him come off as if he wanted to poison Americans with disinfectants.
Monday afternoon Trump tried a Rose Garden setting with reporters wearing mandatory masks after two White House staffers tested positive for the virus last week. The subject was increased testing to get the country ready for reopening.
The press conference was going reasonably well, with reporters asking questions and follow-ups without incident until Trump called on CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang for a second time and then CNN’s Kaitlan Collins got in on the act.
Jiang accused Trump of viewing testing for the virus as a “global competition” because he keeps saying how America leads the world in testing while “everyday Americans are still losing their lives and we’re still seeing more cases every day”. Trump told her people are losing their lives everywhere in the world and that she should ask that question of China.
Jiang, who was born in China, took offense at Trump telling her she should ask her question of China. The pandemic virus originated in the Hubei province city of Wuhan in China last November. China did not inform the world until late January the virus could be spread human to human. At that point the virus was seeded around the world leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands people.
Trump called on another reporter but Jiang interjected asking why he said she should ask China that question. Trump told an indignant Jiang who stood and badgered Trump that he was not telling her specifically but to “anybody that would ask a nasty question like that”. Trump signaled for another reporter in the back to ask a question, bypassing CNN’s Kaitlan Collins who had hung back and waited for Jiang to harangue Trump when Trump pointed to her to ask a question. Collins stepped to the microphone anyway and demanded to ask her questions. Collins would not leave the mic and kept talking when Trump told her she had missed her turn, so Trump ended the press conference and walked back into the White House.
" Very, very ugly ending to that one hour appearance by the President in the Rose Garden" pic.twitter.com/yiBtbIWkpF
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) May 11, 2020
Trump earlier made clear his anger with China over its conduct regarding the virus.
People are insincerely reacting to the POTUS Weijia Jiang interaction.
Earlier in the presser, Steve Holland asked abt Chinese hackers stealing vaccine research, @realDonaldTrump: "What else is new with China? What else is new? Tell me."
Stop making something out of nothing. pic.twitter.com/YKgzJ7ReIC
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) May 11, 2020
Video of Jiang’s first question accusing Trump of suppressing the number of cases and deaths to reopen the country.
Video: Disenguous, pathetic stuff from @CBSNews's @Weijia Jiang, questioning the President's testing motives as suppressing them so as to tamp down case numbers and death tolls and then suggest he's playing politics with reopening state economies while Democratic governors aren't pic.twitter.com/acjiINrXxX
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) May 11, 2020
Jiang indicated Sunday night she was ready to rumble, “JUST IN: The President will hold a formal press briefing tomorrow for the first time since April 27th. The topic is “testing”, which great because I have a lot of questions.”
JUST IN: The President will hold a formal press briefing tomorrow for the first time since April 27th.
The topic is “testing”, which great because I have a lot of questions. pic.twitter.com/22aoqT3EjR
— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) May 11, 2020