CBS to Trump at Press Conference: ‘Are You Being Selfish?’

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Donald Trump declared a state of emergency on Friday at a White House press conference detailing the ongoing efforts to combat the Coronavirus. After speaking and sharing the stage with doctors and leaders in the economy, CBS News journalist Weijia Jiang wondered if the President was being “selfish” for not immediately taking a COVID-19 test. 

 

 

Here’s how the initial exchange went down: 

WEIJIA JIANG (CBS News): Mr. President, thank you. I want to first follow-up on Jeff's question because the person you were standing next to, whether you know who he is or not, tested positive for coronavirus. Dr. Fauci said this morning, if you stand next to somebody who tested positive, you should self-isolate and get a test. You said your White House doctors are telling something different. who should Americans listen to? And my second question — 

DONALD TRUMP: I think they should listen to their doctors and I think they shouldn't be jumping to get the test unless it's necessary. But I think they should listen to their doctors. I don't know. I haven’t seen the pictures. Somebody said there is a  picture of somebody taking a picture with me. But I haven't seen it. 

JIANG: Doctors have said you might have it, even if you don't have symptoms? Are you being selfish by not getting tested and potentially — 

Trump interrupted and said he did plan on getting tested: 

TRUMP: Well, I didn't say I wasn't going to be tested.

JIANG: Are you going to be? 

TRUMP: Most likely. Most likely. Not for that reason. Because I think I will do it anyway. 

JIANG: When do you think that will be? Will you let us know the results? 

TRUMP: Fairly soon. We’re working on that. We’re working on a schedule. 

PBS journalist Yamiche Alcindor hammered the president on responsibility for the virus: 

YAMICHE ALCINDOR (White House correspondent, PBS NewsHour): My first question is, you said that you don't take responsibility, but you did disband the White House Pandemic Office and the officials that were working in that office left this administration abruptly so what responsibilities do you take to that? And the officials that worked in that office said that you —  that the White House lost valuable time because that office was disbanded. What do you think of that? 

A transcript of the questions is below: 

White House press conference
3/13/2020

4:24 PM ET 

YAMICHE ALCINDOR (White House correspondent, PBS NewsHour): My first question is, you said that you don't take responsibility, but you did disband the White House Pandemic Office and the officials that were working in that office left this administration abruptly so what responsibilities do you take to that? And the officials that worked in that office said that you —  that the White House lost valuable time because that office was disbanded. What do you think of that? 

DONALD TRUMP: I just think it's a nasty question because what we've done is -- and Tony had said numerous times that we've saved thousands of lives because of the quick closing, and when you say me, I didn't do it. We have a group of people. 

ALCINDOR: It’s your administration. 

TRUMP I could ask —  I could perhaps ask Tony about that, because I don't know anything about it. I mean, you say we did that. I don't know anything about it. 

ALCINDOR: You don't know about the reorganization that happened with the National Security Council. 

TRUMP: Perhaps —  they let people go. You used to be with a different newspaper than you are now. Things happen. We're doing a great job. Let me tell you. These professionals behind me and these great incredible doctors and business people, the best in the world, and I can say that, whether it's retailers or labs or anything you want to say, these are the best in the world. We're doing great job.

...

4:30 PM ET

WEIJIA JIANG (CBS News): Mr. President, thank you. I want to first follow-up on Jeff's question because the person you were standing next to, whether you know who he is or not, tested positive for coronavirus. Dr. Fauci said this morning, if you stand next to somebody who tested positive, you should self-isolate and get a test. You said your White House doctors are telling something different. who should Americans listen to? And my second question — 

DONALD TRUMP: I think they should listen to their doctors and I think they shouldn't be jumping to get the test unless it's necessary. But I think they should listen to their doctors. I don't know. I haven’t seen the pictures. Somebody said there is a  picture of somebody taking a picture with me. But I haven't seen it. 

JIANG: Doctors have said you might have it, even if you don't have symptoms? Are you being selfish by not getting tested and potentially — 

TRUMP: Well, I didn't say I wasn't going to be tested.

JIANG: Are you going to be? 

TRUMP: Most likely. Most likely. Not for that reason. Because I think I will do it anyway. 

JIANG: When do you think that will be? Will you let us know the results? 

TRUMP: Fairly soon. We’re working on that. We’re working on a schedule. 

 

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