This morning, President Trump took questions from reporters as he left the White House unexpectedly to appear live on Fox & Friends. In the press gaggle, the president told CBS correspondent Weijia Jiang to “be quiet” multiple times and commented that she was “obnoxious” while she asked questions about North Korea’s nuclear threat.
The reporter asked, “You spoke passionately about the circumstances that led to Otto Warmbier’s death. In same breath, you’re defending Kim Jong Un’s human rights records. How can you do that?”
Trump replied, “You know why? Because I don’t want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family.” Over chatter from reporters, he continued, “I don’t want to see, excuse me, because I don’t want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family. I want to have a good relationship with North Korea. I want to have a good relationship with many other countries. And what I’ve done, if you remember, if you are fair, which most of you aren’t. But if you are fair, when I came in people thought we were probably going to war with North Korea.”
The reporter interrupts and asks, “But is the threat over?”
Trump says, “Be quiet. Quiet. Quiet. If we did millions of people would have been killed. ”
Reporter: You spoke passionately about the circumstances that led to Otto Warmbier's death. In same breath, you're defending Kim Jong Un's human rights records. How can you do that?
Trump: "You know why? Because I don't want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family" pic.twitter.com/RZLElM3qOV
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 15, 2018
Moments later, amid questions, he held up his hand and told the reporter to be quiet again, then spoke to someone nearby and said, “She’s so obnoxious” before once again telling the reporter to be quiet.
“Quiet!” President Trump says to a reporter: “She’s so obnoxious. Quiet.” pic.twitter.com/nZE0bUPGoP
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 15, 2018
The reporter tweeted about the president’s comments, giving him credit for answering reporters’ questions.
— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) June 15, 2018
Prior to the press conference in Singapore on Tuesday, after the summit with Kim Jong Un, Trump had not held a solo press conference since February 2017. Today was the second time this week Trump took questions from reporters.
As The News Blender reported, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also reacted negatively to a reporter asking questions about the results of the North Korea summit earlier this week, replying, “Just so you know, you could ask me this – I find that question insulting and ridiculous and, frankly, ludicrous. I just have to be honest with you. It’s a game and one ought not play games with serious matters like this,” when asked about the verification process for North Korean denuclearization.
Why It Matters
President Trump this week has touted the free press as more dangerous than North Korea. The reporter who he told to be quiet was doing her job and simply asked a fair question about the president’s comments. A president must be able to manage a chaotic press gaggle with reporters shouting questions. It is obviously not possible for a president to answer every question shouted at him, but to tell a reporter to be quiet and call them obnoxious for asking a legitimate question is not a good look.
Furthermore, his answer of”Because I don’t want you and your family to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon” to the question, “How can you defend Kim Jong Un’s human rights violations?” leaves a lot to be desired but is being lost in his rude behavior to the reporter.