Trump: 'Don't ask me. Ask China.'

US President Donald Trump clashed with an Asian-American reporter before abruptly leaving a press briefing.

| Donald Trump, United States, China, Health, US & Canada

US President Donald Trump abruptly ended a press conference after a contentious exchange in which he told an Asian American journalist to "ask China" about her question and then refused to take a query from another White House reporter.

Weijia Jiang, a White House correspondent for CBS News, asked the president why he sees coronavirus testing as a global competition when more than 80,000 Americans have died.

"You've said many times that the US is doing far better than any other country when it comes to testing," Jiang said.

Trump responded by saying "Yes."

Jiang followed up: "Why does that matter? Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives, and we're still seeing more cases every day?"

"Maybe that's a question you should ask China," Trump told Jiang, who was born in China and immigrated to the US when she was two years old. "Don't ask me. Ask China that question, OK?"

Trump attempted to move on by calling on Kaitlan Collins, a White House correspondent for CNN, but Jiang interjected with a follow-up question.

"Sir, why are you saying that to me specifically?" asked Jiang, visibly taken aback by Trump's retort.

"I'm telling you," Trump replied. "I'm not saying it specifically to anybody. I'm saying it to anybody that asks a nasty question."

"That's not a nasty question," Jiang said. "Why does it matter?"

Trump then looked again to take a question from another reporter.

Collins, who had let Jiang ask Trump her follow up questions, approached the microphone.

"I have two questions," Collins said.

"No, it's OK," Trump replied.

"But you pointed to me," Collins said. "I have two questions, Mr President. You called on me."

"I did," Trump said. "And you didn't respond, and now I'm calling on the young lady in the back."

"I just wanted to let my colleague finish," Collins explained. "But can I ask you a question?"

Trump then ended the press conference.

"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much," he said before leaving the Rose Garden.

The president was strongly criticised by critics for the behaviour he displayed, some saying his remarks to Jiang were racist.

In March, Jiang wrote on Twitter that a White House official, who she did not name, had referred to the coronavirus as the "Kung-flu" to her face.

Other critics suggested the exchange was laced with sexism.

This report was edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed's Hassan Ghani.

Source: Al Jazeera