‘Just relax’: Trump clashes with reporter
Donald Trump clashed with a reporter during a White House press briefing on Sunday night, telling her to "keep your voice down" as she questioned him over why he didn't take earlier action against the COVID-19 outbreak.
Things got heated during the press conference when CBS reporter Weijia Jiang asked why the US president didn't warn citizens about the virus in February and implement social distancing rules earlier.
Mr Trump's response was to point out that he implemented a Chinese travel ban in January in response to the spread of the virus.
When Jiang clarified that the ban only applied to Chinese nationals, not Americans coming from China, Mr Trump told her to "just relax".
He then said that "people were amazed" when he implemented the ban and that tens of thousands of people would have died if he didn't.
Throughout the questioning, the President also told Jiang to "do your research" and to lower her voice.
Here is the rest of their exchange:
JIANG: When you issued the ban, the virus was already here.
TRUMP: How many cases of the virus were in the United States when I issued the ban? Do you know the number?
JIANG: There was -
TRUMP: No no, how many cases? Remember I said one person. How many cases were here when I issued the ban? Tell me.
JIANG: But did you know it was going to spread and become a pandemic?
TRUMP: No no no, you have to do your research.
JIANG: I did my research. On the 23rd of March you said you knew this was going to be a pandemic well before.
TRUMP: I did know it. Anybody knew it. Are you ready? How many cases were in the United States when I did my ban? How many people had died in the United States?
JIANG: Could you acknowledge that you didn't think this was going to spread?
TRUMP: Keep your voice down, please.
JIANG: Did you not think it was going to spread?
TRUMP: How many cases were in the United States? I did a ban where I'm closing up the entire country. How many people died? How many people died in the United States?
JIANG: And that's a fair point -
TRUMP: And yet I closed up the country. And I believe there were no deaths. Zero deaths. At the time I closed up the country. Nobody was there. And you should say thank you very much for good judgment.
Jiang wasn't the only reporter that the US president clashed with during the briefing, with things becoming heated again after another journalist started to ask a question about a video of New York governor Andrew Cuomo that was played.
During the briefing, an excerpt from Mr Cuomo's earlier press briefing was played in which he praised the government's efforts in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.
After the clip ended, Mr Trump claimed his full comments weren't shown and it ended too soon. Half an hour later the rest of the video was played, with Mr Cuomo saying that no one in New York had been denied a ventilator or proper health care who needed it.
Mr Trump took issue with a reporter who started her question out by saying that Mr Cuomo "has indeed praised a lot of what the government was done".
He cut her off and pointed out that the governor actually said they did a "phenomenal job".
"He said we did a phenomenal job. He didn't say a lot. He didn't say 'You did a good job on ventilators but nothing else'. No," Trump said.
"He said we did a phenomenal job. So report accurately. Because you are one of the most inaccurate reporters."
Mr Trump hit out again when a different reporter questioned why he was playing clips of people praising the government for their response when there had been over 40,000 virus-related deaths in the US.
The President said he was standing up for the people who have been responding to the outbreak who have been "doing an incredible job".
"Those people have been absolutely excoriated by some of the fake news, like you. You're CNN. You're fake news," Mr Trump said.
"They were excoriated by people like you who don't know any better because you don't have the brains you were born with."
The Sunday evening press briefing came as the Trump administration claimed parts of the nation were ready to have restrictions lifted and to begin a gradual return to normalcy.
Trump supporters in several states have ignored social distancing and stay-at- home orders, gathering to demand that governors lift controls on public activity.
The President has invoked their rallying cry, calling on some states with Democratic governors to "LIBERATE," and he defended the demonstrations on Sunday night saying, "These people love our country. They want to go back to work."
"They want to get back. They want their life back. Their life was taken away from them. And you know, they learned a lot during this period. They learned to do things differently than they have in the past and they'll do it hopefully until the virus has passed," Mr Trump said.
"And when the virus passes, I hope we're going to be sitting next to each other at baseball games, football games, basketball games, ice hockey games. I hope we're going to be sitting next to each other. The Masters is going to have 100,000 people, not 25 people watching at the course.
"I've never seen so many American flags at a rally as I've seen at these rallies. These people love our country. They want to get back to work."