Reporters Alcindor, Collins, Jiang get under Trump's skin

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FILE - This March 29, 2020 file photo shows President Donald Trump answering a question from PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor during a coronavirus task force briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Reporters Alcindor, Weijia Jiang and Kaitlan Collins have faced hostility from Trump at news conferences with stoicism. Their experiences illustrate the challenge of working at a White House with near-daily accessibility to a president who considers the press an enemy. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, FIle)

NEW YORK – To anyone who's watched, there's more that binds Yamiche Alcindor, Kaitlan Collins and Weijia Jiang than an impromptu display of teamwork at a recent White House news conference.

Each reporter has a knack for getting under President Donald Trump's skin and an equal ability not to let it knock them off stride.

They symbolize the test of covering a White House like none other, with a president who views the press as an enemy yet is accessible almost daily. A question may elicit a candid response, misdirection, falsehood or attack — you never know what's coming.

Trump has reacted to questions by Alcindor, Collins and Jiang by calling them nasty or racist, and effectively telling the journalists to pipe down.

“How do you call out what's happening without making yourself the story, and refocus on what the public policy should be?” said Jessica Yellin, a former CNN White House reporter who now does a daily Instagram newcast. “It's incredibly challenging. They're showing us how it's done and figuring it out at the same time.”

The unexpected cooperation came during an outdoor news conference when Jiang, of CBS News, asked Trump why his claims that the United States tested more than any country mattered at a time people were dying of COVID-19.

Trump said that “maybe that’s a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me. Ask China that question.”

He looked to move on but CNN’s Collins, in line to ask the next question, let the exchange play out.