Trump Stormed Off After a Racist Confrontation With a Female Reporter. Now He’s Declaring Conspiracy.

Oliver Contreras/ZUMA

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President Trump’s abrupt exit from a White House news conference Monday afternoon felt instantly familiar. It was, after all, hardly the first time he had gone after a female reporter. Nor was it Trump’s first go at targeting a woman of color with racist rhetoric.

The president seemed set off by a question from CBS reporter Weijia Jiang—”Why are you saying that to me, especially?”—that she lodged seconds after Trump suggested Jiang, an Asian American, ask China about his compulsion to frame coronavirus tests as some kind of global competition.

“I’m saying that to anybody who would ask a nasty question like that,” Trump shot back.

But his grim facial expression—and subsequent refusal to take another question from Jiang’s White House press corps colleague, CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins—appeared to belie that very explanation. For just a few moments, Trump seemed to recognize that he had, once again, done an oopsie dog whistle.

Still, Trump couldn’t let a very public tantrum be the last word. Hours after walking out of the news conference, he dashed off to his mental safe space and declared conspiracy:

By the next morning, Trump was retweeting praise for his behavior, and claiming, without evidence, that Asian Americans shared his fury with China’s actions in the coronavirus pandemic. 

This whole timeline reads like a nightmare, but we shouldn’t ignore the president baselessly accusing female reporters of taking part in a political plot to tank his reelection after getting called out for racism. Trump’s meltdown came at the same time he relaunched a conspiracy-fueled campaign claiming Barack Obama has committed “the biggest political crime in American history,” a wildly absurd accusation that came after Trump reportedly was angered at the former president calling his coronavirus response “an absolute chaotic nightmare” during a private phone call. Taken together, the attacks capture our thin-skinned president turning back to the greatest hits of his political career—racism, misogyny, conspiracy theories—to distract attention and responsibility from a public health crisis that crossed 80,000 deaths over the weekend. 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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