Trump attempts to flatter Yamiche Alcindor, calls her a ‘good reporter’
The backhanded compliment comes after months of ridicule from the president because of her hard-nosed journalism
On at least three separate occasions, President Donald Trump has lashed out at Yamiche Alcindor during press briefings. Alcindor, the White House correspondent for PBS Newshour has diligently worked to hold the president accountable for his statements during the coronavirus pandemic and even prior.
Alcindor, a Black woman, has been a frequent target of the president’s ire. In one of the most bizarre moments, on March 29 at a news briefing, Trump seemed to invoke a stereotype about Black women telling Alcindor to “Be nice. Don’t be threatening.”
In the most recent interaction, Trump tried an entirely new tactic when responding to Alcindor, flattery.
In response to whether or not the president downplayed the seriousness of the virus at the beginning, he immediately brought up his travel ‘ban’ on China at the end of January. Although the ban exempted Americans and foreign nationals and an additional 40,000 people came into the country after it was instituted.
“And then they tell me it’s only a political talking point, but you feed into it because you’re too good a reporter to let that happen,” he said to Alcindor, “Really, you are a good reporter. You’re too good of a reporter to let that happen.”
Unfazed, Alcindor continued to press the president on whether he had downplayed the virus by continuing to hold rallies in both February and March. He then tried another new tactic, selective amnesia.
“I don’t know, did I hold a rally?” Trump asks her, “I’m sorry. I hold a rally? Did I hold a rally?”
The Trump campaign, in fact, held rallies on Feb. 10, 19, 20, 21, and 28, as well as one on March 2nd.
To her credit, Alcindor has declined to say whether or not Trump singles her out due to her race. On an episode of Pod Save America, she has said that during this time of crisis, “We don’t have time for foolishness. We don’t have time for sideshows.”
While Alcindor will not say that the president attacks her due to her race, other Black women have, including for National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and April Ryan — a longtime Washington Reporter who has also been berated by the president. In a 2018 essay, Ryan wrote that the president’s criticism toward Black women seemed more personal than any of her white or male colleagues.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionally affect Black people, it is imperative that African American reporters continue to ask the tough questions about the virus and the federal response to its ravaging of our communities.