Yamiche Alcindor was a target of Trump’s coded bigotry on Sunday, after the award-winning journalist pressed on the concerns of medical personnel during a Sunday press conference at the White House.
Trump is no stranger to berating Alcindor, or any strong Black woman with a public platform who attempts to hold him accountable (see Rep. Maxine Waters and/or fellow journalist April Ryan). Sunday’s confrontation between Trump and Alcindor stood as a major moment, forcing Twitter users to rally around her with the hashtag #WELOVEYAMICHE.
The exchange began when Alcindor, an award-winning White House correspondent for PBS Newshour, asked Trump to account for his statements regarding sending much-needed ventilators to the state of New York. New York now serves as the epicenter for the coronavirus as many hospitals and personnel are preparing for medical war zones as the number of COVID-19 cases surge across the country.
When Alcindor began backing up her statement with Trump’s comments during a recent Fox News interview, Trump became irate.
“You know, why don’t you people act—let me ask you, why don’t you act in a little more positive? It’s always trying to ‘getcha getcha’ and you know what? That’s why nobody trusts the media anymore,” he said.
“That’s why people—excuse me you didn’t hear me. That’s why you used to work for the Times and now you work for somebody else. Look let me tell you something, be nice. Don’t be threatening. Be nice.”
Trump’s assumption that Alcindor was being “threatening” and his notation that she left the New York Times for her current job, attempted to discredit her in front of her colleagues, coupled with overt racial language. The exchange was incredulous, coming from an ex-reality star who ran for president in an attempt to vie for relevancy.
When she attempted to ask a follow-up question, her mic was abruptly cut off .As reporters initially ignored the move and clamored to raise their hands, CNN White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond handed Alcindor his microphone so that she could finish her question.
Alcindor’s PBS Newshour colleague Amna Nawaz was one of the many voices on Twitter who offered support during the uncomfortable confrontation.
But Nawaz wasn’t the first or the last. Soon after, several prominent Black Twitter voices began to rise up and call Trump out over the exchange, signifying that his tone and actions highlight the misogynoir that Black women deal with too often in the workplace.
Alcindor shared her thoughts in a series of Tweets, promising to soldier on in the name of reporting.
“I’m not the first human being, woman, black person or journalist to be told that while doing a job,” she wrote. “My take: Be steady. Stay focused. Remember your purpose. And, always press forward.”
We hope Alcindor knows that we stand with her as she holds up the fourth pillar of democracy, the oftentimes thankless task of being a journalist.