US President Donald Trump stormed off stage and abruptly ended his press conference on Monday after being called out by an Asian-American reporter for telling her she should "ask China."
Trump held his first press briefing since 27 April in the White House rose garden flanked with banners that read, "America leads the world in testing." So when Weijia Jiang, a White House correspondent for CBS News, asked the President why he constantly emphasises that the US is doing better than any other country in coronavirus testing when more than 80,000 Americans have died.
Trump tells Asian-American reporter to 'ask China'
"Why does that matter?" she asked. "Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives and we are still seeing more cases every day?".
"Well, they are losing their lives everywhere in the world," he retorted. "Maybe that is a question you should ask China. Don't ask me. Ask China that question. When you ask China that question you may get a very unusual answer."
Jiang fires back at President
After asking Weijia, who is of Chinese origin, to "ask China" Trump moved on to another reporter, CNN's Kaitlan Collins, but she paused as Jiang interjected, "Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically?". The president responded that he wasn't directing the statement towards "anybody" and that he was saying it to those who would ask him "a nasty question like that."
"That is not a nasty question," the CBS reporter stood firm. Trump then looked to take a question from a different correspondent shortly before abruptly ending the press conference and storming off stage.
Trump draws criticism for 'racist,' 'sexist' comments
Some critics have called Trump's remarks racist. "I think what we saw in that exchange with Weijia Jiang is something that has racial overtones." CNN correspondent Brian Stelter said in an interview. "This is part of a pattern of behaviour from the President."
Social media is also buzzing with users lashing out at Trump for his "racist temper tantrum" during the briefing. "Another disgraceful, racist, temper tantrum by Trump b/c he was asked a pointed question by @weijia," Tara Setmayer wrote on Twitter. "Trump can't handle smart, assertive women."
"Anytime a woman reporter takes trump to task on his bullshit and his lies, he can't handle it" commented another user. "He immediately folds after getting aggressive & trying to bully fails. Not only is he a sexist, lying, egotistical, hypocritical bigot, he's a coward, too."
Others are of the opinion that the exchange reeked of sexism. "The President's unprofessionalism is always revealed most clearly when he is interacting with female reporters," tweeted Olivia Nuzzi, Washington correspondent for New York magazine.
The internet was quick to rally round Jiang, with the hashtag #StandWithWeijiaJiang soon trending on Twitter. "I #StandWithWeijiaJiang against Trump's racist tantrums," tweeted "Star Trek" actor and prominent Asian-American activist George Takei.
This won't be the first time Jiang has faced racism at the White House. In March, Jiang took to Twitter to state that a White House official, who she did not name, had referred to the coronavirus as the "Kung-flu" to her face.