Trump berated a black journalist, telling her to 'be nice' and not 'threatening' at a coronavirus briefing, but she refused to take the bait
- PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor confronted President Donald Trump with his own statements during the daily coronavirus taskforce briefing on Sunday as US coronavirus cases rose to nearly 140,000.
- In response, Trump snapped at Alcindor to "be nice" and not "be threatening."
- The president continued berating Alcindor as she pressed on and tried to redirect his attention to her question about earlier statements he made to Fox News host Sean Hannity about the shortage in medical equipment as states battle the novel coronavirus.
- "When journalists get up and ask questions that are so threatening-" Trump began. Alcindor hit back: "I was quoting you directly from your interview with Sean Hannity."
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Yamiche Alcindor, a PBS NewsHour reporter with extensive experience covering the White House, confronted President Donald Trump with his own statements on Sunday and provoked a hostile response that critics said had racist undertones.Trump warned Alcindor to "be nice" and not "be threatening," but she refused to cave and continued her line of questioning. Praise for her was trending on Twitter right after the exchange.Advertisement
Alcindor kicked off her questioning by asking Trump about earlier statements he made to Fox News opinion commentator and longtime ally Sean Hannity. Specifically, he suggested to Hannity that some states may not need as much medical equipment as they've requested to fight the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus within the US.
"I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators," Trump told Hannity on his program Thursday night. "You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes and they'll have two ventilators. Now all of a sudden they're saying, 'Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'"Referring to Trump's remarks, Alcindor addressed the president and said, "You've said repeatedly that you think that some of the equipment that governors are requesting, they don't actually need. You said New York might not need 30,000-"
"I did not say that. I didn't say that," Trump interjected."You said it on Sean Hannity's Fox News [show], you said that you might-" Alcindor said."Come on, come on," Trump said, cutting her off. "You know, why don't you people act - why don't you act in a little more positive … it's always get you, get you, get you."Advertisement
Alcindor tried to redirect the president's attention to her question, but he continued, "And you know what, that's why nobody trusts the media anymore."
"My question to you is, how is that going to impact-" Alcindor tried, before Trump again cut her off."Excuse me, you didn't hear me," the president said. "That's why you used to work for The Times and now you work for somebody else. Look, let me tell you something. Be nice. Don't be threatening."Advertisement
Alcindor pressed on, asking Trump how his comments would impact how the federal government fills states' orders for ventilators and masks as they battle the virus, which the World Health Organzation declared a pandemic earlier this month.
"We're producing tremendous numbers of ventilators," Trump insisted. "We're doing a great job on it. We have everybody in the White House working on it. We have -everybody in the country is working on it one way or another."Then, in what appeared to be an attempt to clarify his remarks to Hannity, Trump claimed that the federal government sent "thousands of generators" to New York but that the state never distributed them.Advertisement
"I hope they distributed them now," Trump said. "But maybe they didn't need them so badly. But just so you know, we're all you me everybody we're all on the same team. When journalists get up - and you're a journalist, a fine journalist - when journalists get up and ask questions that are so threatening-"
Alcindor hit back, "I was quoting you directly from your interview with Sean Hannity."Watch the exchange below:Advertisement
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Friday that Trump's suggestion was "incorrect and grossly uninformed," and that the ventilators are being stored to prepare for when the state's medical facilities exceed their capacity."Of course we didn't" distribute them, Cuomo said. "That's the whole point. The hospitals don't need them yet. The hospitals aren't at their apex. The hospitals have enough ventilators today, but their numbers are going up."Alcindor won praise and admiration for how she handled her questioning of Trump on Sunday. The hashtags #Yamiche and #WeLoveYamiche began trending on Twitter almost immediately after her exchange with the president.Advertisement
Alcindor also addressed the moment after the fact.
"President Trump today at the White House said to me: 'Be nice. Don't be threatening,'" she wrote on Twitter. "I'm not the first human being, woman, black person or journalist to be told that while doing a job. My take: Be steady. Stay focused. Remember your purpose. And, always press forward."Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you'd like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your story.Advertisement
Watch as Trump gets defensive about his statement questioning how many ventilators Cuomo really needs.- Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) March 29, 2020
Trump: When journalists get up and ask questions that are so threatening...
Yamiche: I was quoting you directly from your interview with Sean Hannity. pic.twitter.com/KsxxQCQXyl
"Yamiche Alcindor is a consummate professional. She is a world-class journalist… She also gets under the president's skin because she asks probing & direct questions time & again at the briefings." @PhilipRucker on President Trump telling @Yamiche's to "be nice" pic.twitter.com/AaBZNC7WSk- Kasie DC (@KasieDC) March 30, 2020
Thank you, @Yamiche. Journalists with integrity ask hard questions, especially when lives and livelihoods hang in the balance.- Be A King (@BerniceKing) March 30, 2020
What's striking here is that she refuses to take his bait about four times - and keeps asking her question, as if nothing. Even after he personalizes it with a mean-spirited dig on her job history.@yamiche is a model for all of us. The President is not. https://t.co/LrbikzvLVj- Elliot Williams (@elliotcwilliams) March 30, 2020
I love you- Stephanie Ruhle (@SRuhle) March 30, 2020
You are amazing
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