Colleagues flocked to PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor’s defense after President Donald Trump berated her for asking him to clarify his earlier statement questioning how many ventilators states actually needed.
The exchange unfolded during a Rose Garden press conference Sunday. When Alcindor brought up the comments he made on “The Sean Hannity Show,” Trump repeatedly interrupted her and denied ever saying them.
“I was quoting you directly from your interview with Sean Hannity,” Alcindor said in response. Born to Haitian parents, Alcindor previously worked as a reporter for ‘USA Today’ and ‘The New York Times’ before becoming the White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour in 2018.
She asked how his statement affected the federal government response to states’ demands for more equipment, but was cut off before she could ask her second question. Later, when CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond was called on by Trump, Diamond returned the mic to Alcindor to finish her questioning.
Alcindor drew praise from journalists, political pundits and others alike for standing her ground while dealing with Trump’s bullying.
“She steps up to speak #thetruth. No fanfare, no grandstanding, no gloating. just respect & grit. #WeLoveYamiche,” said Teri Agins, former Wall Street Journal columnist.
The #WeLoveYamiche hashtag caught on, becoming No. 1 in New York trending on March 30.
Following the exchange, Alcindor tweeted a video of the press conference during which Trump told her, “Be nice. Don’t be threatening.”
“I’m not the first human being, woman, black person or journalist to be told that while doing a job,” she said. “My take: Be steady. Stay focused. Remember your purpose. And, always press forward.”
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS) also expressed their support for Alcindor.
“Now more than ever our communities need facts and the truth. Yamiche and her colleagues are working hard to stand true to the principles of journalism, and to acquire and share the information that we all need to overcome this pandemic as a collective unit,” NABJ President Dorothy Tucker said in a statement. “The president’s attacks against her and others are not only unnecessary but demeaning and inappropriate."
JAWS President Mira Lowe said her organization also stands with Alcindor.
“In these extraordinary times for our country, it is imperative that journalists ask the tough questions of our elected officials on behalf of a public that is in need of critical information for their lives,” Lowe said in a statement. “Berating or demeaning journalists is objectionable and uncalled for. We stand solidly behind Yamiche and other women journalists who are pressing on and doing their jobs despite the attacks on them.”