WASHINGTON – The White House admitted on Tuesday that President Donald Trump told a female reporter at a press conference earlier this week that “you’re not thinking. You never do” when she tried to ask him a question.
The administration published on Tuesday a transcript of the exchange, which took place on Monday at Trump’s Rose Garden press conference to announce the striking of a deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada, Mexico having agreed to a revised pact some weeks ago.
That original transcript, however, did not include the president’s precise words, leading some to speculate that the White House may have doctored the text to hide Trump’s insult.
At the press conference, Trump had called on ABC News White House correspondent Cecilia Vega, then said “She’s shocked that I picked on her. She’s ... in a state of shock.”
Vega tried to correct the president, saying “No, I’m not. Thank you, Mr. President.”
That was when Trump, who is quite often very combative with certain members of the press, insulted Vega, saying “That’s OK. I know you’re not thinking. You never do.”
The administration’s original transcript of the above exchange, however, changed Trump’s word “thinking” to “thanking,” a somewhat unusual claim – if it wasn’t a simple typo – given that Vega had just thanked the president.
The transcript sparked a significant amount of controversy on the social networks, with many expressing outrage at the president’s remarks, and the White House later corrected the transcript to reflect Trump’s actual comment.
At times at the press conference, a rather combative Trump adopted a rough or gruff tone with certain reporters, given that when they were called upon they wanted to ask him not about the newly configured tripartite trade agreement – which is clearly what the president wanted to tout – but rather about the FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a topic the president seemingly wanted to avoid.
Trump also refused to answer another question – this one by Kaitlan Collins of CNN – who started to ask him about the several sexual assault claims leveled against Kavanaugh.
The president cut Collins off and ordered an aide to take the microphone from her.