Donald Trump held Sunday evening’s White House press briefing in the Rose Garden, which seemed like a nicer setting than the media room to discuss America’s next steps in the fight the pandemic coronavirus. However, when PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked the President about his previous comments on The Sean Hannity Show, Trump appeared to lose his cool.
“Why can’t you people act … why don’t you act in a little more positive … it’s always trying to getcha, getcha, getcha. It’s why nobody trusts the media anymore. That’s why you used to work for the Times and now you work for somebody else.”
Continuing to cut off Alcindor’s questioning, which concerned the number of ventilators needed in New York, Trump said, “Be nice. Don’t be threatening. Be nice.”
Alcindor was referring to a direct quote from Trump’s call-in appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Friday night. Trump said of New York’s dire need for ventilators, “I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be. I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.”
While Alcindor tried to finish asking her question, her mic was cut and Trump moved along to the next reporter. However, when it was time for CNN’s Jeremy Diamond to speak, he passed the microphone back to Alcindor so she could finally finish asking her question.
Diamond, who also became the target of Trump’s wrath on Sunday evening, was applauded by Twitter users online for sticking up for a fellow reporter.
Alcindor stood her ground and insisted she was merely quoting to Trump exactly what he had said on Fox News. “You said repeatedly that some of the equipment that governors are requesting, that they don’t actually need …” and Trump again cut her off. After being silenced, Alcindor then tweeted out the exact quote she was referencing.
While Trump had a mini-meltdown at the podium, reporters watching from home had Alcindor’s back and shared their support on Twitter. Washington Post political reporter Felicia Sonmez said, “I am in awe of @Yamiche’s professionalism, poise and determination in the face of the president’s efforts to intimidate her and dodge her questions about his own words.”
This Is Not The First Time Trump Has Lost His Cool With Alcindor During White House Press Briefings
This isn’t the first time Alcindor and Trump have bumped heads during the White House press briefings. On March 13, Trump called a question of Alcindor’s “nasty” after she inquired about his disbanding of the White House pandemic office, which he denied.
After Sunday’s White House briefing, Andrea Mitchell, NBC chief news correspondent of foreign affairs, tweeted, “Once again @realDonaldTrump personally attacks @Yamiche of @PBS before she can finish asking a question directly quoting what he said about ventilators on Sean Hannity. (He had challenged NY’s need) When she tries to follow up the White House cuts off her mic.”
The biggest takeaway from today’s White House press briefing was Trump announcing an extension of the CDC’s current social distancing guidelines against coronavirus until April 30. This was a stark contrast to Trump’s announcement days prior that he was gunning for America to start easing up on social distancing by Easter, April 12.
When asked about his announcement that the country would return to normal activity by Easter—which some experts felt would be a dangerous move—the President said he only meant that as an “aspirational” thought.