During a cabinet meeting on May 19, President Donald Trump took a question from Paula Reid of CBS News, regarding the rise in unemployment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. His response included a hostile remark toward the journalist.
“Mr. President, why haven’t you announced a plan to get 36 million unemployed Americans back to work? You’re overseeing historic economic despair. What’s the delay? Where’s the plan?” Reid asked.
The president started to chime in before she had finished her question.
“I think we’ve announced a plan. We’re opening up our country. Just a rude person, you are. We’re opening up our country. We’re opening it up very fast. The plan is that each state is opening, and it’s opening up very effectively. When you see the numbers, I think even you will be impressed, which is pretty hard to impress you.”
Reid attempted a followup question — purportedly about jobs that wouldn’t be returning to the U.S. However, this was ignored as Trump went to field another reporter’s question.
.@PaulaReidCBS asks why Trump hasn't announced a plan to get 36 million Americans back to work: "You’re overseeing historic economic despair. What’s the delay, where’s the plan?"
Trump: "I think we've announced a plan. We're opening up our country. Just a rude person, you are." pic.twitter.com/ZjnLRbIKFH
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 19, 2020
This was not the first time Trump and Reid have been in conflict. Last month, Reid, who is CBS News’ chief White House correspondent, clashed with the president over his administration’s supposed lack of preparedness for the pandemic in February. This resulted in Trump calling her “a fake.”
Previously, Reid had challenged Trump on claims about former President Barack Obama’s border policy. Additionally, she has become noted for her resilience when speaking to the president. The Guardian has called Reid “steadfast and unfazed” for how she deals with the president’s temperament.
Speaking with the New York Post earlier this month, Trump pointedly said that the CBS journalist “wasn’t Donna Reed” — referring to the late actress known for starring in It’s a Wonderful Life. In an apparent response to this quote, Reid’s Twitter bio now includes “Not Donna Reed.”
In CBS News’ tweet featuring a video of the recent incident, many of the commenters were on Reid’s side.
“He doesn’t have a plan….” one person said.
“Paula Reid continues to be outstanding. Asking the questions that actually matter,” praised a user.
However, there were also those who sided with Trump.
“I got to admit that was a stupid question,” one individual remarked.
“I totally agree with Trump. Rude.,” said someone else.
Reid’s question comes at a time of great anxiety regarding the unemployment rate. In April, this figure was listed as 14.7 percent. However, it may be as high as 20 percent, according to CNBC. This would be the highest rate since the Great Depression when unemployment levels went above 25 percent.
However, economists have argued that a depression akin to one in the 1930s is unlikely, given the number of resources available for economic repair that weren’t available then.