The Slatest

Trump Storms Out of Press Conference

But not before demanding CBS reporter Weijia Jiang direct her question to China instead.

Donald Trump speaks at a microphone
Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing about coronavirus testing in the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Presumably due to the increased number of coronavirus cases among White House staff, Monday marked a new setup for Trump’s daily grievance sessions packaged as coronavirus news briefings. Where previously all the speakers took turns speaking into the same microphone, on Monday, Trump stood center stage on his own podium as the people who actually know what they’re talking about shared a single mic off to the side. It provided an unobstructed view when our big, brilliant president stormed out of his own press event in a fit of rage.

Monday’s frustrations seemed to begin when Trump was asked to be specific about which exact crime he was referring to when he tweeted on Sunday that President Barack Obama had committed “the biggest political crime in American history, by far!”

Philip Rucker did not, in fact, know what the crime was, as he attempted to ask again before being rebuffed.

Next, CBS reporter Weijia Jiang asked Trump why he felt compelled to constantly declare that “the U.S. is doing far better in testing than any other country” when Americans continue to die on a daily basis.

Trump responded by telling Jiang, who was born in China and raised in West Virginia, that she should perhaps ask China that question instead. Jiang then asked why he told her, specifically, to ask China that question, to which Trump responded that he had not actually said the thing he had very clearly just said.

What ultimately led to Trump’s abrupt walk-off, though, was some apparent solidarity among the White House reporters in attendance. CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, who had been called on next, paused to let Jiang ask her follow-up question. When Trump refused to explain why he thought the Chinese American reporter should direct her question to China, Collins finally tried to take her turn, only for Trump to tell her that “No, it’s OK” because she “didn’t respond.” Despite Collins’ protestations, Trump then apparently attempted to call on PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor, who tweeted that she “motioned for Kaitlin to ask her Q.” It was then that Trump, apparently livid at these female reporters for refusing to allow him to punish their colleagues for their insolence, walked off.

All in all, another successful attempt at reassuring the American public that, in this time of unprecedented stress and tragedy, Trump has everything under control.