President Trump fancies himself impervious to media grilling, but even his bluster hasn’t stopped him from having a bone to pick with the behavior of two White House reporters. Predictably, they’re both women.
During an exclusive interview with the New York Post Monday, Trump referenced CBS News White House Correspondents Weijia Jiang and Paula Reid, who committed the cardinal sin of doing their jobs during the recent White House covid-19 briefings.
On April 13, Trump called Reid “disgraceful” and “fake” after she asked Trump about the decisions he made in February, a month before covid-19 became a widespread threat in the United States. On April 19, Jiang made headlines after Trump berated her for questioning why the Trump administration didn’t warn Americans about covid-19 earlier, questioning what outlet Jiang worked for and telling her to “relax.” It turns out that the only person who hasn’t relaxed is Trump.
From the New York Post:
He singled out two CBS News journalists as people who particularly irritated him — Weijia Jiang and Paula Reid — during the briefings.
“It wasn’t Donna Reed, I can tell you that,” Trump said, referring to the film and TV star best known for playing Mary Bailey in “It’s A Wonderful Life” and later starring as the mom in an eponymous family TV sitcom of the ’50s and ’60s.
Ironically, Donna Reed herself was no June Cleaver; despite the pearls, The Donna Reed Show pivoted from the typical tropes of programs depicting housewives during the post-war era. Reed bristled when compared to the conciliatory, deferential housewives that dominated the television. According to the book The Donna Reed Show by Joanne Morreale, Reed herself once said, “I don’t portray the All-American Mom, and Carl Betz [her TV husband] is not the All-American Daddy, either. So help me, if we had to do that type of TV mother and father every week, I’d go off my rocker.” She was also a producer and director for the show (albeit uncredited) and had to fight with sponsors to allow her character to get angry. “Keep it goody-goody and you lose the effectiveness,” Reed said.
If anything, a little bit of Donna Reed was alive and well in both Reid and Jiang. But don’t tell Trump, whose fixation on women who dare ask questions during briefings—especially non-white women like Yamiche Alcindor, a black reporter for PBS who has regularly received Trump’s ire—has been consistent, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
“Paula Reid, she’s sitting there and I say, ‘How angry. I mean, What’s the purpose?’ They’re not even tough questions, but you see the attitude of these people, it’s like incredible.
“So you know, I enjoyed it,” Trump concluded.
Trump has received negative feedback from the briefings, especially after the president’s dangerous and wildly inaccurate suggestion that researchers might study whether injecting disinfectant could be effective covid-19 treatment. Recently, the Trump administration has scaled back the daily covid-19 briefings, but Trump vows to bring them back with a vengeance, boasting to the Post, “We set every record with those press conferences. Six million people all the time. You know we had tremendous numbers, literally, it was in [Fox News host] Bret Baier’s slot, and we did like 30 in a row.”
Whenever Trump returns to the dreaded podium, Jiang and Reid will be ready, and likely unbothered by the president’s opinion of their reporting. Reid, in particular, has a sense of humor about pushing Trump’s buttons: She has edited her Twitter bio to read, “Not Donna Reed, I can tell you that.”