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‘Don’t ask me, ask China’: Trump lambasts China-born reporter, storms out of briefing

An American journalist had asked Trump why he was putting so much emphasis on the amount of coronavirus tests that have been conducted in the United States.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 12, 2020 4:10:15 pm
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 11, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“Don’t ask me. Ask China.” This is what US President Donald Trump told an American journalist before unceremoniously ending the press conference at the White House rose garden on Monday.

Weijia Jiang, who works for CBS news, had challenged President Trump as to why he views coronavirus testing as a global competition given that more than 80,000 US citizens have lost their lives to the pandemic ever since its outbreak.

This was Trump’s first media briefing since April 27 in the White House rose garden with signs behind him that read “America leads the world in testing.”

Also Read | Can the US sue China for coronavirus related damages?

Jiang asked Trump, who wasn’t wearing a mask, “Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives and we are still seeing more cases every day?” Trump gave a terse response: “Well, they are losing their lives everywhere in the world. Maybe that is a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me. Ask China that question. When you ask China that question you may get a very unusual answer.”

American journalist Weijia Jiang from CBS News. (Source: Screengrab from Reuters)

Subsequently, Trump called upon another journalist, Kaitlan Collins of CNN, to ask her question. But Jiang pressed forth with her query and interjected the President: “Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically?”

Read | Tracking US President Donald Trump’s response to Covid-19 through his top 10 quotes

To this, Trump said: “I am not saying it specifically to anybody. I am saying it to anybody who would ask a nasty question like that.”

Trump again asked for another question, then said, “Nah, that’s OK” and waved off CNN’s Collins when she approached the microphone.

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 11, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Jiang and Collins wore masks to the news conference, as did most reporters, following the recent reports that two White House employees – an aide to Vice President Mike Pence and a valet to the president – had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Following the contentious exchange, Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California tweeted saying, “Asian Americans are Americans.”

Trump has said that this week the US will pass 10 million coronavirus tests, which is nearly double that of any country in the world and more per capita than the UK, South Korea, Japan, France, Sweden, Finland and others.

He insisted on Monday his administration has “met the moment” and “prevailed” on coronavirus testing, even as the White House itself became a potent symbol of the risk facing Americans everywhere by belatedly ordering everyone who enters the West Wing to wear a mask.

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