He got what he wanted. Now the President of the United States is dealing with the consequences.
Part of those consequences involve Donald Trump having to regularly front up to the media, who want to ask pesky questions on things like his team’s connections with Russia, and other leaks coming out of the White House.
Those press conferences haven’t been going too well. Trump gets upset. Annoyed. He avoids questions (even one yesterday asking him to denounce the rise of anti-Semitism, while standing next to the Prime Minister of Israel). He throws around random “facts” that “somebody told him”, and he lashes out at the media. He likes to declare, seemingly when the topic gets a little too icky, that “it’s all fake news!”
In case you’re concerned about Trump having second thoughts about his new job, be assured. “I love this,” he told “dishonest” reporters this morning. “I’m having a good time doing it.”
This morning’s news conference went for well over an hour. The New York Times has described it as “contentious” and showcasing “his unconventional and unconstrained presidency”. CNN claims the conference was called hastily, because Trump was itching to get out in front of the media.
He starting it by saying he was there to “update the American people on the incredible progress that has been made in the last four weeks since my inauguration.”
Trump went on to claim he’s running a “fine-tuned machine” and defended his first month in office, despite the fact his national security adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign regarding his December conversation with Russia’s US ambassador.
He said he’s not happy with the tone of stories being written about him, a tone of “such hatred”. He reassured journalists that: “I’m really not a bad person, by the way.”
Trump said he hasn’t made any phone calls to Russia in years and that he doesn’t speak to people in Russia. The Russia story is fake news, he said.
Meanwhile, he’s also convinced that he’s had a productive four weeks, despite his immigration travel ban being overturned by a federal judge. He said there “has never been a president who has done so much in such a short period of time,” especially given his administration had “inherited a mess.” And there’s much more to come, next week. Watch out for some “big work” next week.
But he’s still not happy about the media.
“I want to find a friendly reporter,” he told reporters this morning.
“Tomorrow, they will say: ‘Donald Trump rants and raves at the press,” Trump said. “I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you. You know, you’re dishonest people. But — but I’m not ranting and raving. I love this. I’m having a good time doing it.”
Trump also confirmed reports about that phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, using the episode to again highlight the number of leaks coming out of the White House. “The same thing with Australia,” he said. “All of a sudden people are finding out exactly what took place.”
“The leaks are real. The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake.”
Later when Trump was asked if he would meet with the Congressional Black Caucus, he told the African-American reporter posing the question: “Are they friends of yours?”
TIME released its latest cover depicting Trump over night, just as this press conference was occuring. “Nothing to see here”. It says. Nothing at all.