By: Zack Duvall
“Perhaps the most interesting press conference I’ve ever seen.”
That statement by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) this morning while speaking on Fox News’ Fox and Friends, would be how many who watched the President’s press conference yesterday describe the one hour and fifteen minute long slug fest. President Trump held no punches when addressing the various news outlets and the recent frenzy furthered by many in the mainstream.
“The public doesn’t listen to you people anymore”. He fired back to reporters referring to recent accusations and media reports about alleged ties between the Trump administration and Russia as “Out of control” and “fake”.
The latest media reports on the matters of alleged Russian ties and leaked information include an alleged “lack of confidence” in the President by the intelligence community, including some who are now claiming that many intelligence officials fear further damaging leaks and, as a result, are withholding highly sensitive information from the president and his team during their briefings.
Despite the tension and high energy comments, President Trump appeared to enjoy the banter with the media and even joked that he “could be a fan” of the media if they would be “more fair” in their coverage of his administration.
“I can handle a bad story, no one can handle a bad story like me, if it’s true. But these reports are totally fake and false.”
News publications such as the New York Times and The Washington Post have in fact issued over a combined 12 redaction’s, “clarifications”, and formal apologies pertaining to new articles published that were later proven to be incomplete or misleading reports. Including the publication of an article that cited travel records of Michael Cohen, Trump’s top legal adviser at the time, that some in the media claimed to prove he had traveled to the Russian Kremlin during the election. It was later proven to not be the Michael Cohen that was employed by the Trump team.
The rhetoric from the media regarding the President and his administration has always been contentious to say the least. As far back as his announcement of candidacy, the mainstream media and many of its affiliates have been overly critical of the President. The attacks have often been personal and even include comments referring to his 10-year son Baron.
As explosive as this press conference was, it is really nothing different from what many Trump supporters have always seen in him. A tough as nails, unafraid, and fluid leader who does not shy away from confronting his critics. This may have been the first time a sitting U.S. president has taken the media on head to head in such a away in our nation’s history, but this is also the first time we have seen such an open opposition by the media to a sitting president as well.
Of all the coverage, according to Politico, of the President and his administration so far, 91% was negative. With 63% of it being rated as “very negative”. Despite this fact, Trump won a vast majority of Electoral College votes and his “Trustworthiness” numbers are higher than that of the media.
Trump’s campaign, and now presidency, have seen and will continue see the first of many things the world of politics has not seen before. This is the first time a major party candidate has taken on the establishment and bureaucracy of both sides of the aisle, as well as the establishment media, and won. This alone is the biggest and, perhaps most significant, “first” the public has seen so far however.
President Trump did normalize the press conference briefly while discussing his nomination of Alexander Acosta as his Department of Labor Secretary, and his plans for unveiling a new Executive Order regarding national security. Acosta served as the 1st Hispanic assistant attorney general for the southern district of Florida. He also serves on the National Labor Relations board.
The conference quickly regained steam however, when asked about finding the source of the leaked phone calls at the center of the recent media firestorm.
“We’re going to find the leakers…they are going to pay a price for leaking classified information.” The President sternly proclaimed.
The press conference came to a dynamic, yet effective, end for the President with him addressing the issue of unity in our nation.
“I didn’t come along and divide this nation.” He said with numerous nods of agreement from some in attendance. He continued, “This country was seriously divided before I got here…. But I will do everything in my power, you have my word, to fix it.”