The same CBS reporter who last month accused a White House official of referring to the coronavirus as the “Kung Flu” reemerged in the spotlight Friday when she lobbed what some claimed was a “gotcha” question at President Donald Trump.
The “gotcha” question irritated the president, prompting him to say she ought to “feel ashamed” of herself and accusing her of asking the question with a “nasty tone.”
During Friday’s White House coronavirus briefing, CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang specifically questioned the president about remarks made a day earlier by his senior adviser Jared Kushner.
Watch the full interaction below (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):
(Source: Fox News)
“Yesterday, Jared Kushner said the notion of the federal stockpile was, it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use. What did he mean by our, given the fact that taxpayers from every state pays for it,” Jiang asked.
“What are you asking?” Trump replied. “What’s that? A ‘gotcha?’ You used the word ‘our.’ ‘Our,’ you know what ‘our’ means? United States of America. That’s what it means.”
During the previous day’s coronavirus briefing, Kushner argued that cities that run out of ventilators and other needed medical supplies need to reach out to state officials first before seeking help from the federal government. Why? Because the federal government’s stockpile is designed to be a last-resort fail-safe for all 50 states.
Listen to a snippet of those remarks below:
It’s a “simple” concept, but one that Jiang appeared unable to grasp.
“So why did you say it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use?” she pressed at Friday’s briefing.
“Because we need it for the government, and we need it for the federal government. … because the federal government needs it too, not just the states,” the president replied. “But out of that, we oftentimes choose. As an example, we have almost 10,000 ventilators, and we are ready to rock with those ventilators.”
“We’re going to bring them to various areas of the country that need them. But when he says ‘our,’ he’s talking about our country. He’s talking … about the federal government. I mean, it’s such a basic, simple question, and you try and make it sound so bad.”
The CBS correspondent’s decision to evoke ‘taxpayers from every state” who pay into the federal system did seem political in nature, though Jiang felt otherwise.
“It’s not bad,” she said. “I’m just trying to understand.”
“You ought to be ashamed of yourself!” the president replied. “You know what? You ought to be ashamed. It’s such a simple question. He said ‘our,’ and our means for the country and our means for the states because the states are part of the country. Don’t make it sound bad. Don’t make it sound bad.”
This prompted Jiang to recommend that the administration consider changing “the language on the [federal government’s] website” to clarify this.
After the briefing, the administration went ahead and did as Jiang had suggested just to be helpful. And in response, the media predictably began bashing the administration.
HHS website when Kushner made the claim: “Strategic National Stockpile is the nation’s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies”
And now: The “stockpile can be used as a short-term stopgap buffer”https://t.co/OgqW66rejr
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) April 3, 2020
Who should be surprised by the Orwellian change in HHS website’s stockpile language to match Jared’s inaccurate description? Next, Trump 5 pm follies will be required viewing
— Walter Pincus (@walterpincus) April 3, 2020
Trump regime caught altering DHS website after Jared Kushner’s press conference meltdown https://t.co/LRWQGH5urY
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) April 4, 2020
It is hard to believe that we can still find new things to be outraged about in this administration, but changing an agency website to conform to Jared’s disinformation is an outrage. https://t.co/E4AE0de1s9
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) April 4, 2020
It wasn’t “disinformation.” It was a clarification prompted by a recommendation from a fellow media head.
“You just asked your question,” the president, even more annoyed than before, hastily replied as he pointed to another reporter to ask his question.
“You just asked your question in a very nasty tone. Let’s go. I gave you a perfect answer. You know it. Go ahead.”
The other reporter continued Jiang’s line of questioning, forcing the president to repeat everything Kushner had tried to explain a day earlier.
“We have a federal stockpile, and they have state stockpiles … but we’re not an ordering clerk. They have to have for themselves,” he said.
The full reply was longer, but this condensed quote basically sums it up.
Hours later, Jiang has become a hero and public enemy on social media, depending on the user’s political leanings.
Naturally, members of the left view her as a hero:
Your question was relevant and important and professionally asked. His response another matter.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) April 3, 2020
The reporter who asked Trump a tough question today, and then got attacked by him, is @Weijia Jiang. Follow her.
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) April 4, 2020
Can we name that two women of color, @Yamiche and @weijia have exposed the President’s incoherence and lack of competence by fearlessly doing their jobs as journalists? All this in the face of bullying, belittling, and name calling from that lectern.
— Maurice Moe Mitchell 🐺 (@MauriceWFP) April 4, 2020
Thank you for asking the question. We need more journalists like you to ask and press this “president”
— Jimmy Smagula (@JimmySmagula) April 4, 2020
I appreciate you. This is what we need more of. Thank you for asking him to be accountable. Of course he wasn’t. But that is good journalism. And I’m hoping we will see more correspondents follow suit. TOGETHER, we can get answers and make change.
— Lisa Catara – actress (@lisa_catara) April 4, 2020
You are a full-fledged hero, @weijia .
— Bruce Rheins (@BruceRheins) April 3, 2020
Conversely, members of the right view her as the female Jim Acosta:
Your behavior at the White House today was both unprofessional and embarrassing. You don’t get into a shouting match with the President of the United States over an absurd question and come out of it with your credibility intact.
Just ask @Acosta.
— David Wohl (@DavidWohl) April 4, 2020
Because it was a stupid question.
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) April 4, 2020
You really are a moron. https://t.co/yo0J6qonjs
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) April 4, 2020
That’s because you’re an obnoxious reporter who is focused on asking “gotcha” questions
How stupid do you have to be to not understand what Kushner meant?
Also, why have you not released the name of the White House official who said the “kung flu” thing to you? https://t.co/9RcnzVU3CQ
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) April 4, 2020
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