President Donald Trump slammed ABC News reporter Jon Karl during the White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing on Monday, calling him a “third rate reporter” after a heated exchange.
The interaction came after Karl pressed on a new Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general report that claimed that not all the hospitals in the U.S. have enough coronavirus tests.
When pressed on the issue, Trump suggested that there could potentially be a political angle to the report because of the official who put it together, Principal Deputy Inspector General Christi Grimm.
Karl informed Trump of Grimm’s name after another reporter who initially asked Trump about the report did not know Grimm’s name.
“When was she appointed?” Trump asked. “When was she appointed?”
“Well, I’m not sure when she was appointed,” Karl responded.
“Well, will you do me a favor? I have to know now, Jon,” Trump responded. “Let me know now.”
Later in the press conference, Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir spoke on the inspector general report and highlighted problems with the report, mainly that it was done in the early days of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus.
“I don’t know the inspector general, I don’t know that person,” Giroir said regarding Grimm. “I’ll tell you one thing that I have a problem with: If there was such a problem that she knew about or he knew about on March 23 or 24th, why did I find out about the test from them on the news media at 8 0-clock this morning? If there was a problem I think you’re ethically obliged to tell me where that is so we can interact with it like I do every single day.”
“But that’s a discussion for the future,” Giroir added. “I think testing is really in a good position right now and I’d be happy to expand on some of the really good tests that are coming up.”
After Giroir was finished talking, Trump asked Karl, “How long has that person been in government?”
“She did serve in the previous administration,” Karl responded.
“Oh, you didn’t tell me that. Oh, I see,” Trump responded. “You didn’t tell me that, Jon. You didn’t tell me that she did serve in the previous admin, you mean the Obama Administration. Thank you for telling me that. See, there’s a typical fake news deal.”
“You asked when she was appointed,” Karl yelled. “I told you when she was appointed.”
“You’re a third rate reporter, and what you just said is a disgrace,” Trump fired back. “You asked me, you said, ‘sir, she just got appointed.’ Take a look at what you said. Now I said, ‘when did they — when did this person — how long in government?’ Well, it was appointed in the Obama Administration. Thank you very much, Jon. Thank you very much. You will never make it.”
.@realDonaldTrump absolutely rips Jon Karl for claiming IG Christi Grimm was appointed under Trump when she actually started service under Obama. Trump was pointing out that she may have an ax to grind with report claiming Trump admin partly to blame for med supply issues. pic.twitter.com/4DJOgJa0tH
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) April 6, 2020