Donald Trump has accused the ‘lamestream’ media of conspiring together to undermine him after he shared heated exchanges with two reporters at a Monday press briefing before storming off stage.
During the press conference, Trump was asked by CBS News’ Weija Jiang why he sees COVID-19 testing as a global competition when 80,000 Americans have so far died from the deadly virus.
‘Maybe that’s a question you should ask China,’ Trump told Jiang, who is Chinese-American. ‘Don’t ask me. Ask China that question, OK?’
The president then called on CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, but Jiang interjected to ask Trump: ‘Why are you saying that to me specifically?’
‘I’m telling you,’ Trump replied. ‘I’m not saying it specifically to anybody. I’m saying it to anybody that asks a nasty question.’
Jiang protested there was nothing ‘nasty’ about she was asking, but a second inquiry as to why she was specifically told to ‘ask China’ went unanswered by the president.
When Collins then approached the microphone to ask her questions, the president interrupted her, telling her ‘No, it’s okay,’ and instructed a different reporter to step forward.
Collins and Trump then shared a back-and-forth of their own before the president abruptly ended the press conference and walked off stage.
Referencing the tense chain of events on Twitter late Monday evening, the president accused the two reporters of conspiring together to sabotage the briefing.
‘The Lamestream Media is truly out of control, Trump blasted on Twitter. ‘Look how they work (conspire!) together. They are the Enemy of the People, but don’t worry, we will WIN in November!’
The president has faced criticism for what appears to be a disproportion series of attacks on female reporters.
Senator Bernie Sanders called the exchange ‘pretty pathetic’ on Twitter, adding that the president is ‘a coward who tears down others to make himself feel powerful’.
New York Magazine correspondent Olivia Nuzzi said: ‘The President’s unprofessionalism is always revealed most clearly when he is interacting with female reporters.’
Others, meanwhile, accused Trump of using outright racist remarks towards Jiang – who previously tweeted in March that a White House official had referred to the coronavirus in a conversation with her as ‘Kung-flu’.
The president has previously had public spats with both Jiang and Collins.
Trump previously said neither Jiang nor her fellow CBS News reporter was a ‘Donna Reed’ and White House staff tried to move Collins out of her front row seat to the back of the briefing room in late April.