Over the course of 24 hours, CNN personalities have all accused President Trump of racism over the course of three shows for telling CBS News White House correspondent and Chinese-American Weijia Jiang to “ask China” her question about why he sees the battle to contain Coronavirus as a “global competition.” It appears as if the media believed that their Trump Derangement Syndrome has given them the power to read minds.
Just minutes after the exchange to conclude Monday's presidential press conference, the farcical Brian Stelter appeared on The Situation Room and told sympathetic host Wolf Blitzer: “It is racist to look at an Asian-American White House Correspondent and say, ‘ask China.’”
Stelter also alleged that “this is part of a pattern of behavior from the President that goes back many years,” proclaiming that “the President routinely targets reporters who are women and people of color…As much as we are competitive in the press corps, I think it’s important we show solidarity in moments like this and call out racial kind of reactions from the President.”
While Stelter tried to downplay the assertion that “he would have said the same thing to anyone,” other recent exchanges between the President and the press prove that his “targeting” of reporters is not limited to “women and people of color.”
During another Rose Garden press conference last month, Trump called Playboy writer Brian Karem a “loudmouth” and “showboat.” In the past, Trump has labeled NBC’s Peter Alexander a “terrible reporter” and trashed CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta as “a rude, terrible person.”
On CNN Tonight, host Don Lemon attempted to make the case that Trump has a long-standing racial animus towards Jiang by playing an older clip of the President asking Jiang: “Who are you with?” Even though the President was obviously inquiring as to her news outlet, Lemon insinuated without evidence that Trump was really asking her “where are you from?”
The accusations of racism continued into Tuesday’s New Day with deranged former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart.
Having long morphed into a walking, talking comments section of a liberal website, Lockhart claimed that Trump has “problems with...taking questions when he’s challenged by women, particularly women of color…All he saw there was an Asian, not an Asian-American. And someone who...represented China and he lashed out at her in a way that I believe…was openly racist.”
He added that it was a “low moment in his presidency” where “we got a window into his character.” Amazing. Reminder that his came from a guy who worked for Bill Clinton!
A transcript of the relevant portion of Monday’s edition of The Situation Room is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS's The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer
WOLF BLITZER: I want to bring in Brian Stelter right now, our media correspondent. Brian, at the very, very end of that one-hour appearance by the President in the Rose Garden, and you were watching, all of us were watching, it was really ugly. I’ll play the clip once again. This is the CBS White House Correspondent Weijia Jiang. I’ll play the clip. She asked a reasonable question and watch the President’s response.
WEIJIA JIANG: 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?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, they’re losing their lives everywhere in the world. And maybe that’s a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me. Ask China that question, okay? When you ask them that question, you may get a very unusual answer. Yes, behind you please.
JIANG: Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically…
TRUMP: I’m telling you…
JIANG: …that I should ask China?
TRUMP: …I’m not saying it specifically to anybody. I’m saying it to anybody that would ask a nasty question like that.
JIANG: That’s not a nasty question.
TRUMP: Please go ahead.
JIANG: Why does it matter?
TRUMP: Okay. Anybody else?
BLITZER: All right then, he had originally called on Kaitlan Collins, our White House Correspondent. She was polite enough and…and did the journalistic right thing. Let her colleague follow up, which is appropriate. I spent seven years as a White House Correspondent; we often let other White House Correspondents do a follow-up question to the President…
BRIAN STELTER: Yeah.
BLITZER: …at these kinds of events just out of simple courtesy to our colleagues. And that’s what Kaitlan Collins did. The President then wouldn’t even address a question that she was ready to pose. But let me get your thoughts on that exchange the President had with the CBS White House Correspondent.
STELTER: Well, clearly, the President was rattled; rattled enough to walk off because he didn’t want to hear the questions from Kaitlan Collins and Weijia Jiang. And I think what we saw in that exchange with Weijia Jiang is something that has racial overtones. It is racist to look at an Asian-American White House Correspondent and say, “ask China.” This isn’t happening in a vacuum. This is part of a pattern of behavior from the President that goes back many years. So he’s…he doesn’t have the benefit of the doubt that someone might have if, for the first time ever in their life, they made a comment like that to a reporter. But the President has been rattled by Weijia Jiang’s questions in the past, he has treated her and other female reporters differently in the past. And he’s also had this pattern of reacting to minority journalists in a very specific and different way, Wolf. For example, a few years ago, President Trump said to April Ryan, a black correspondent, to follow up with the Congressional Black Caucus because he…he kind of just assumed they were friends. And here today, he’s saying to a Chinese born journalist, “ask China.” Now, of course, he says he was directing…he would have, he would have said the same thing to anyone, but the pattern suggests otherwise. The pattern suggests a racial reaction to certain individuals in the press corps. And that’s deeply, deeply disturbing. Let me just tell you Weijia Jiang’s background for everybody who doesn’t know. She’s a White House Correspondent for CBS, one of the best reporters on the beat. And she describes herself in her biography as a Chinese-born West Virginian. What a beautiful sentiment, right, to be Chinese-born and then to be a part of this country and to be from West Virginia, and to describe yourself in that way. Normally, we wouldn’t even be talking about her background, we wouldn’t even be talking about her heritage. But it’s come up because the President routinely targets reporters who are women and people of color. In this case, he targeted Weijia Jiang today, but this is a pattern. And as…as much as we are competitive in the press corps, I think it’s important we show solidarity in moments like this and call out racial kind of reactions from the President.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Monday’s CNN Tonight is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CNN Tonight With Don Lemon
DON LEMON: And then asked why he seems to see testing as a global competition while Americans are dying every day, the President lashes out at CBS White House Correspondent…Correspondent Weijia Jiang; saying this.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Maybe that’s a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me. Ask China that question, okay? When you ask them that question, you may get a very unusual answer. Yes, behind you, please.
WEIJIA JIANG: Sir, why are you saying that to me specifically…
TRUMP: I’m telling you...
JIANG: …that I should ask China?
TRUMP: I’m not saying it specifically to anybody. I’m saying it to anybody that would ask a nasty question like that.
JIANG: That’s not a nasty question.
TRUMP: Please, go ahead.
LEMON: Boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. This is where we are right now. This is where we are right now. She’s right. It’s not a nasty question. That is her job. Her job is to ask questions. And he is obviously saying it to her specifically. Okay? Please listen to this exchange. It’s from back in April.
JIANG: Many Americans are saying the exact same thing about you; that you should have warned them the virus was spreading like wildfire through the month of February instead of holding rallies with thousands of people. Why did you wait so long…
TRUMP: Who are you with?
JIANG: …to warn them?
TRUMP: Who…who are you with?
LEMON: Do you mean who are you with or do you mean where are you from? Maybe you can give him the benefit of the doubt…benefit of the doubt back then, but after the President got that dig about China, got in that dig about China today, I don’t know. And it’s not the first time that Weijia Jiang has heard something ugly like this. She tweeted back on March 17th that a White House official had referred to the coronavirus as “kung flu” right to her face.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Tuesday’s edition of New Day is below.
New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Joe, there was this remarkable moment at President Trump’s briefing yesterday where he got agitated after a reporter asked him a question and he said, “Go ask China.” This is a Chinese-American reporter. I don’t know if President Trump knew that. I don’t know what was in President Trump’s head. But why would a reporter go ask China? Why isn’t President Trump talking to China, since he seems very angry at China; though he also continues to praise President Xi and President Xi’s response? I mean, it’s been quite a mixed message on China. And why is President Trump trying to outsource that to a reporter?
JOE LOCKHART: Well, you know, listen, I’ve watched a lot of these press conferences, and I’ve participated in helping people get ready. And occasionally, you know, even the best politician kind of loses it. And I think the President felt a little bit threatened by the question. He does have problems with…with taking questions when he’s challenged by women; particularly women of color. And in that moment, I think you saw, you know, in a moment of crisis, his true character came out. All he saw there was an Asian, not an Asian-American. And someone who was…who represented China. And he lashed out at her in a way that, I believe, was…was openly racist. And I think what you saw after that, in the byplay with Kaitlan giving her some time and giving the President a moment to think was, he could…he, he knew what he did, and he had no way out of it, so he just kind of, you know, stamped his feet and walked away. But it really was a low moment in his presidency. There have been many, but that was a…that was a very low moment where I think we…we got a window into his character.