CNN’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash said it’s time to call out President Donald Trump’s ongoing sexist treatment of female reporters after he told a female journalist to “relax” and “keep your voice down” amid her questioning of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday.
“As a woman who has covered the White House, as a woman who covers politics and policy in Washington, we just have to say that the way he treats the female reporters is different,” Bash said.
Trump appeared to patronise CBS’s Weijia Jiang during Sunday’s White House press briefing when she asked why he did not do more to prepare for the pandemic back in February when he was holding large political rallies.
“Why did you wait so long to warn them, and why did you not have social distancing until March 16?” she asked him, prompting him to ask her to identify what news outlet she was with before answering.
“So if you look at what I did in terms of cutting off or banning China from coming in,” he began.
“Chinese nationals ... not Americans who were also coming from China,” she specified.
“Nice and easy. Nice and easy. Just relax. We cut it off. People were amazed, these gentlemen, everybody was amazed that I did it,” he told her of the response to his imposed travel ban.
He went on to tell her to “keep your voice down” when she asked if he thought the virus, having been in the U.S. before February, would spread.
Bash, speaking with CNN host Wolf Blitzer, pointed out that Trump’s response to male reporters is different.
Trump has a track record of dismissing women’s questions by focusing on their tone or attitude. He has a particular habit of using the word “nasty” to describe women who question or do not agree with him. He used this same word to describe Jiang at a press briefing earlier this month and again used it to describe a female PBS reporter’s question in March.
“She was asking completely legitimate questions,” Bash said of Jiang’s line of questioning. “I think it’s important to call it out that there is a difference in the way that he reacts when he is getting tough questions.”
“Not that he liked (CNN’s) Jeremy Diamond’s questions or other male reporters’ questions when they are tough. But the way he reacts is different and I think it’s time to say so,” she continued.
Blitzer failed to pick up on her point and instead used it to critique Trump’s recent criticism of his male 2020 competitor, Joe Biden.
“And he went pretty far, Dana, in really attacking the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, the former Vice President Joe Biden,” he told her. “That was the sharpest I’ve heard him attack the former vice president.”
Former Fox News reporter Gretchen Carlson was among those cheering on Jiang and Bash while calling Trump “a misogynistic jerk.”
“No doubt there is a difference in the way he treats women and it’s horrible,” she tweeted.
David Axelrod, who served as a White House senior adviser during the Obama administration, also questioned Trump’s behavior on Twitter.