PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, a consistent critic of Trump in the White House press pool, accused U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams of using politically incorrect language in remarks he made about taking people’s health seriously.
Adams, who is black, bristled at Alcindor’s criticism.
During a White House briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, Adams said, “Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs and call your friends and family, check in on your mother, she wants to hear from you right now and speaking of mothers, we need you to do this, if not for yourself, then for your Abuela, do it for your Grandaddy, do it for your Big Momma, do it for your Pop-Pop. We need you to understand, especially in communities of color, to stop the spread and protect those who are most vulnerable.”
According to Alcindor, Adams’ use of the words “Abuela,” “Grandaddy,” “Big Momma,” and “Pop-Pop” was offensive.
Before getting to her question, she said, “You’ve said that African-Americans and Latinos should avoid alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. You also said don’t do it for your own wallet, do it for ‘Big Mama’ and ‘Pop Pop.” “There are some people online that are already offended by that language and the idea you’re saying behaviors might be leading to these high death rates,” she added.
She then asked, “Could you, I guess, have a response for people who might be offended by the language that you used?”
“I’ve been meeting with the NAACP, with the National Medical Association, with others,” Adams said. I actually talked with Derek Johnson multiple times this week, the head of the NAACP, and we need targeted outreach to the African-American community – and I use the language that is used in my family.
“I have a Puerto Rican brother-in-law. I call my granddaddy, Granddaddy. I have relatives who call their grandparents Big Momma. So that is not meant to be offensive,” he said.
This is not the first time that Alcindor has asked gotcha questions as a White House correspondent. Alcindor traded barbs with Trump in late March over his comments to Fox News host Sean Hannity on the issue of ventilators being distributed to states.
Trump also told Alcindor in November 2018 that she was asking a “racist question” after she accused him of “emboldening white nationalism.”