The daily coronavirus task force briefing by President Donald Trump Sunday, March 29 took a turn that has critics calling out what they consider to be racist undertones during questioning by a Black reporter. During the briefing at the Rose Garden, Trump used the wording “you people” when responding to PBS NewsHour reporter and White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.
Alcindor attempted to question Trump’s previous virus-related comments on Fox News about masks “going out the back door,” which he said was “worst than hoarding.”
“Thank you Mr. President I have two questions,” Alcindor said to the president once she was acknowledged Sunday. “The first is, 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 didn’t say that,” Trump interrupted.
“You said it on Sean Hannity’s Fox News. You said that you might…,” Alcindor replied before being interrupted by Trump again.
“Why don’t you people act…why don’t you act in a little more positive?” he said. “It’s always trying to get you, get you. Get you, get you. And you know what? That’s why nobody trusts the media anymore.”
“Excuse me, you didn’t hear me,” Trump continued as Alcindor tried to complete her question. “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. Don’t be threatening. Be nice. Go ahead.”
“My question is, how is that going to impact how you fill these orders for ventilators or for masks?” Alcindor finally asked.
“We’re producing tremendous numbers of ventilators,” Trump replied. “We’re doing a great job on it.”
The back and forth between the two continued with Trump again stating that Alcindor’s question had been “threatening.”
“You know, when journalists get up, and you’re a journalist, a fine journalist, when journalists get up and ask questions that are so threatening, we’re all on the same team,” he said.
“I was quoting you directly from your interview with Sean Hannity,” Alcindor replied in defense of her inquiry.
During the Hannity interview, Trump said governors have been asking for a lot of equipment.
“For that I think we don’t need,” he said during the interview.
As Alcindor attempted to ask her second question Sunday a White House staffer removed the microphone from her hands. The Sunday encounter did not steer from past interactions that the former national reporter for The New York Times had with Trump concerning the pandemic.
Alcindor previously challenged Trump on his racist language toward Asians after someone in his administration referred to the virus as “Kung Flu” to CBS News White House correspondent Wejia Jiang.
She asked if the president felt it was appropriate to refer to the virus as the “Chinese virus” in multiple tweets.
As numbers for the virus reached a record high in China so did numerous reports of intolerance toward Asians in the U.S.
“A person at the White House used the term ‘kung flu’…Do you think that’s wrong? And do you think using the term ‘Chinese virus’ puts Asian Americans at risk?” Alcindor asked.
“No, not at all,” Trump replied.
Alcindor responded to Trump’s Sunday comments in a tweet.
Jemele Hill, a former contributing writer for The Atlantic, and CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta applauded Alcindor’s drive for holding Trump and his administration accountable.