Trump’s Exchange with CBS Correspondent Weijia Jiang
In a grotesque display of power today, President Trump rails on two female reporters then abruptly ends the Rose Garden Coronavirus briefing and leaves the podium.
Weijia Jiang, a White House correspondent for CBS News, asked a reasonable question about why the President seems to be turning the White House’s pandemic response into a global competition with other countries, rather than keeping the focus on the loss of life from the sweeping disease.
His response to her was to tell her to “ask China.” The reporter was clearly taken aback, being obviously an Asian-American. She sat back from the mic, clearly rattled by his response, as Trump gestured for CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins to step forward with her question. Collins stepped forward but held her position when Jiang leaned forward to the mic to ask the President why he would ask that question — specifically to her. “Ask China” being a snarky thing to say to an Asian-American reporter. (Jiang was born in China, but raised in the United States from the age of two.)
The President remarked that her question was a “nasty question.” The video below from the Washington Post YouTube channel shows the entire exchange.
Also notable was the complete dismissal of Kaitlan Collins, who clearly had been called upon, then harshly dismissed in a clear effort to keep liberal media reporters “in their place” — specifically female ones? This is not the first time Trump has belittled, insulted, and bullied female reporters.
In April of this year, #WeLoveYamiche began trending on Twitter following a particularly condescending exchange between Trump and a female reporter, Yamiche Alcindor of PBS, provoking a wide movement of support for Yamiche.
Here is the incident from the NowThis YouTube channel:
“I’m not the first human being, woman, black person or journalist to be told that while doing a job,” she said. “My take: Be steady. Stay focused. Remember your purpose. And, always press forward.” Yamiche has since said.
I find these incidents (there are many) to be particularly disturbing.
How will women break through the impenetrable glass ceiling of equality when this is the precedent set by the highest office in our country, the leader of the free world? The way our President speaks to and about women is not only derogatory, it is utterly shameful.
To those like Yamiche, Collins, and Jiang who are brave enough to push back — I applaud you. For doing your jobs. For standing up for yourself. And for showing professionalism in the face of misogyny.
Lastly, I have seen on my personal Facebook feed, folks who cheer for, applaud, and celebrate when Trump “lets those reporters have it” like it is some kind of sporting event. Further proof that the President is setting a dangerous precedent. I find this Springer-esque behavior to be demoralizing to our nation as a whole.
We are better than this. We have to be.
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Christina M. Ward, political writer, poet, and environmental activist.