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President Donald Trump abruptly ended a news conference Saturday when challenged by CBS reporter Paula Reid after Trump, as he has done more than 150 times, bragged about passing the Veterans Choice health program when, in fact, Barack Obama signed it into law in 2014.
Reid asked Trump, “Why do you keep saying that you passed Veterans Choice?”
Trump tried calling on another reporter, but Reid continued to challenge the president by saying, “You said that you passed Veterans Choice. It was passed in 2014. … It was a false statement, sir.”
To which Trump paused, looked off to the side and then said, “OK. Thank you very much, everybody,” and walked off.
It was reminiscent of other times when he has suddenly walked out of press conferences when challenged by a female reporter. He has walked out of a coronavirus press conference after being challenged by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins. In another one, he called a question by CNN’s Weijia Jiang “nasty” and refused to answer it. He once told PBS’ Yamiche Alcindor to “be nice” with her questions. In another exchange with Reid, he called her “disgraceful.”
In one interview, he complained about Jiang and Reid, saying they weren’t Donna Reed — what Trump perceived as the stereotypical American housewife of the 1950s and 1960s.
It’s true that Trump has lashed out at some male reporters, most notably CNN’s Jim Acosta, but it’s clear that Trump responds to difficult questions from women differently than he does men.
That was especially evident during two recent high-profile interviews — one with Fox News’ Chris Wallace and another with Axios’ Jonathan Swan. In both cases, Trump was pressed harder than he ever has been before, and yet Trump neither walked out on nor insulted the interviewers in any way. In fact, he thanked both men at the end of the contentious interviews.
Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer. For the latest media news and analysis, delivered free to your inbox each and every weekday morning, sign up for his Poynter Report newsletter.