On Sunday, PBS NewsHour reporter, Yamiche Alcindor, confronted Donald Trump during a coronavirus press briefing with statements he had previously made. Her questions quickly had Trump acting in a hostile manner. Many critics have accused Trump’s attack on Alcindor as having racist undertones.
After Alcindor pressed him about his statements, Trump warned her to “be nice” and not “be threatening.” Alcindor did not let Trump’s statements intimidate her and continued with her line of questioning.
After the press conference, social media users praised the PBS reporter for her refusal to back down.
The incident began when Alcindor asked Trump about his earlier statements, that he made while appearing on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox. During Hannity’s show, Trump suggested that some states did not need as much medical equipment as they have requested to help them fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,” Trump stated on Thursday night. “You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes and they’ll have two ventilators. Now all of a sudden, they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'”
Alcindor asked Trump about his statements.
“You’ve said repeatedly that you think that some of the equipment that governors are requesting, they don’t actually need. You said New York might not need 30,000—”
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“I did not say that. I didn’t say that” Trump interjected angrily.
“You said it on Sean Hannity’s Fox News [show], you said that you might—” Alcindor said before Trump cut her off.
“Come on, come on,” Trump said. “You know, why don’t you people act — why don’t you act in a little more positive … it always gets you, get you, get you.”
Alcindor remained professional and attempted to redirect Trump’s attention to her question, but he interrupted again “And you know what, that’s why nobody trusts the media anymore.”
“My question to you is, how is that going to impact—” Alcindor tried again, but Trump cut her off again.
“Excuse me, you didn’t hear me,” Trump said. “That’s why you used to work for The Times and now you work for somebody else. Look, let me tell you something. Be nice. Don’t be threatening.”
Alcindor then asked Trump how his comments would impact how the federal government fills states’ orders for ventilators and masks as they battle the virus, which the World Health Organization, declared a pandemic in early March.
“We’re producing tremendous numbers of ventilators,” Trump then insisted. “We’re doing a great job on it. We have everybody in the White House working on it. We have —everybody in the country is working on it one way or another.”
Trump then went on to claim that the federal government sent “thousands of generators” to New York but that the state did not distribute them.
“I hope they distributed them now,” Trump said. “But maybe they didn’t need them so badly. But just so you know, we’re all you me everybody we’re all on the same team. When journalists get up — and you’re a journalist, a fine journalist — when journalists get up and ask questions that are so threatening—”
This time Alcindor, hit back, “I was quoting you directly from your interview with Sean Hannity.”
On Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated that Trump’s suggestion was “incorrect and grossly uninformed,” and that the ventilators are being stored to prepare for when the state’s medical facilities exceed their capacity.
“Of course, we didn’t” distribute them, Cuomo said. “That’s the whole point. The hospitals don’t need them yet. The hospitals aren’t at their apex. The hospitals have enough ventilators today, but their numbers are going up.”
On Sunday, social media users sent support out to Alcindor as #Yamiche and #WeLoveYamiche trended on Twitter,