President Donald Trump has insulted a female member of the White House press corps, suggesting that the reporter was in “shock” by the very fact that she was called on to ask him a question, and that she does not think.
The comment came during a Monday morning press conference, where the president also ranted more generally about the media — a group of people he has consistently cast in an adversarial light.
“She’s shocked that I picked on her. She’s, like, in a state of shock,” Mr Trump said from behind a podium in the White House Rose Garden, where he was flanked by high ranking members of his administration, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
The reporter, ABC’s White House correspondent Cecilia Vega, then tried to correct the president, but was then met with further insults.
“No, I’m not. Thank you, Mr President,” Ms Vega responded.
“That’s OK. I know you’re not thinking,” Mr Trump then said. “You never do”.
Trump calls on Cecilia Vega of ABC News. He says that she's shocked that he picked her. Then he adds, "That's OK. I know you're not thinking. You never do." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/FnrIDeyqyN
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 1, 2018
Mr Trump’s insult was criticised on social media following the event, with critics suggesting that the exchange was indicative of misogyny in the White House.
“Among other things, 45 is a bully and a misogynist and the GOP enables him,” one Twitter user wrote, referring to Mr Trump’s succession as the 45th president of the United States.
Video: Did WH Transcript Misquote Trump to Erase Jab at Reporter?
But Mr Trump’s interaction with Ms Vega was not the only contentious moment during the Monday press conference, which was arranged by the White House to discuss trade issues.
Mr Trump also refused to answer a question posed by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, who attempted to ask about sexual assault allegations that the president’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, had behaved inappropriately over three decades ago.
When Ms Collins attempted to ask the president about those issues, Mr Trump shut her down and ordered a White House aide to take the microphone away from her.