Trump abruptly ends briefing after contentious exchanges

Politics
Donald Trump

President Donald Trump departs after speaking about the coronavirus during a press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 11, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump abruptly ended his White House news conference Monday following combative exchanges with reporters Weijia Jiang of CBS News and Kaitlan Collins of CNN.

Jiang asked Trump why he was putting so much emphasis on the amount of coronavirus tests that have been conducted in the United States.

“Why does that matter?” Jiang asked. “Why is this a global competition to you if everyday Americans are still losing their lives and we’re still seeing more cases every day?”

Trump replied that “they’re losing their lives everywhere in the world. And maybe that’s a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me. Ask China that question.”

He called for another question, and there was no immediate response.

“Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically?” Jiang asked. Jiang, who has worked for CBS News since 2015, was born in Xiamen, China, and emigrated to the United States with her family at age 2.

Trump said he would say that to “anyone who asks a nasty question.”

“It’s not a nasty question,” Jiang said. “Why does that matter?”

Trump again asked for another question, then said, “Nah, that’s OK” and waved off CNN’s Collins when she approached the microphone.

“You pointed to me,” Collins said.

The president said, “I pointed to you and you didn’t respond.” Collins said she was giving Jiang the time to finish her questioning.

“Can I ask a question?” Collins said.

With that, Trump called an end to the news conference, held in the White House Rose Garden, and walked away.

Jiang and Collins wore masks to the news conference, as did most reporters, following the recent reports that two White House employees — an aide to Vice President Mike Pence and a valet to the president — had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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