On Monday, President Trump abruptly ended his latest press briefing after a contentious dispute with a pair of reporters. This dispute began after one reporter, CBS News' Weijia Jiang, asked a question about testing.
"You have said many times that the U.S. is doing far better than any other country when it comes to testing," Jiang began. "Why does that matter? Why is it global competition to you, if everyday Americans are still losing their lives, and we are still seeing more cases every day?”
“They’re losing their lives everywhere in the world,” Trump responded. “And maybe that’s a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me. Ask China that question, okay? If you ask them that question, you may get a very unusual answer.”
After appearing to sit with that answer for a few seconds, Jiang (who is Chinese-American) leaned forward and asked "Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically? That I should ask China?”
“I’m not saying it specifically to anybody,” said Trump, who was clearly irritated by the follow-up question. “I’m saying that to anyone who would ask a nasty question like that.”
"That's not a nasty question," Jiang said in reply.
Trump then pointed to the reporter behind Jiang, CNN's Kaitlin Collins.
Collins leaned into the mic and said, "I have two questions," but Trump immediately said, "That's okay," in a tone signaling he wasn't going to answer them.
"But you pointed to me, Mr. President, and I have two questions,” Collins said. Still, Trump continued to insist on taking one from the next reporter.
After Collins again repeated, "But you called on me," Trump responded by saying that he did but she didn't speak up in time so now he's moving on to another reporter.
That theme continued with Collins insisting that she was just trying to let Jiang finish talking, Trump said "Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. Appreciate it." Then he walked out.
You can watch the back-and-forth below, as posted by Vox's Aaron Rupar.
After it all went down, the #TrumpMeltdown hashtag trended on Twitter with many accusing Trump of racism for bringing up China in response to Jiang's question.
According to CNBC, the original goal for the presser was for Trump to boast about a recent surge in testing. He reportedly spoke and answered questions for close to an hour prior to the very quick exit.
The heated back-and-forth is the latest in a series that Trump has had with media since these press briefings became a regular thing in March.
Also related to Monday's exchange, the Trump administration had previously accused China of incompetence in containing the contagion, while stating that the virus' origin country intentionally downplayed its severity. Most recently, U.S. officials have warned that China may be utilizing cyber warfare for the purpose of stealing research for a potential vaccine from American labs.
Meanwhile, critics have charged the Trump administration with not doing nearly enough to prepare to combat the virus in the months leading to a near nationwide lockdown. And also for not having a coherent plan to get life back to normal now that it's spread rapidly throughout the states.
In the U.S. nearly 1.4 million people have been infected with COVID-19, and over 80,000 have died from it.