So he called a press conference on Thursday, made reporters sit and wait for over a half-hour, and then laid wood into the press corps.
From Ari Fleischer to Charles Krauthammer to Rush Limbaugh to Roger L. Simon and beyond, they cheered someone standing up for them -- one man against the press.
First President Trump said:
Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, D.C., along with New York, Los Angeles in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system. The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people. Tremendous disservice. We have to talk to find out what’s going on, because the press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.Then listed his accomplishments: starting trade talks with Trudeau, May, Abe, and others; dumping the job-killing TPP; rescinding regulations; getting companies to invest in jobs; defending the country; cracking down on sanctuary cities; backing law enforcement; opening pipelines...
Then he took questions. A good reporter, Mara Liasson of NPR, was first. Trump said, "Go ahead. You were cut off pretty violently at our last news conference."
She asked about firing Flynn. He explained:
Mike Flynn is a fine person, and I asked for his resignation. He respectfully gave it. He is a man who there was a certain amount of information given to Vice President Pence, who is with us today. And I was not happy with the way that information was given.
He didn’t have to do that, because what he did wasn’t wrong — what he did in terms of the information he saw. What was wrong was the way that other people, including yourselves in this room, were given that information, because that was classified information that was given illegally. That’s the real problem.
And, you know, you can talk all you want about Russia, which was all a, you know, fake news, fabricated deal, to try and make up for the loss of the Democrats and the press plays right into it. In fact, I saw a couple of the people that were supposedly involved with all of this — that they know nothing about it; they weren’t in Russia; they never made a phone call to Russia; they never received a phone call.
It’s all fake news. It’s all fake news. The nice thing is, I see it starting to turn, where people are now looking at the illegal — I think it’s very important — the illegal, giving out classified information. It was — and let me just tell you, it was given out like so much.I explained on Tuesday that Flynn was not forthcoming. A CEO will not tolerate obfuscation. As long as you view Trump as a politician or a celebrity, you will not get him. He's a CEO.
Witness this answer to a follow-up question by a different reporter:
No, I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence. Very simple. Mike was doing his job. He was calling countries and his counterparts. So, it certainly would have been OK with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it.
I didn’t direct him, but I would have directed him because that’s his job. And it came out that way — and in all fairness, I watched Dr. Charles Krauthammer the other night say he was doing his job and I agreed with him. And since then, I’ve watched many other people say that.Trump was just getting warmed up. A reporter asked, "You said that the leaks are real, but the news is fake. I guess I don’t understand. It seems that there’s a disconnect there. If the information coming from those leaks is real, then how can the stories be fake?"
As the president started to reply, the reporter began arguing. Trump cut him off:
You know what it is? Here’s the thing. The public isn’t — you know, they read newspapers, they see television, they watch. They don’t know if it’s true or false because they’re not involved. I’m involved. I’ve been involved with this stuff all my life. But I’m involved. So I know when you’re telling the truth or when you’re not. I just see many, many untruthful things.
And I’ll tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know the word “tone.” The tone is such hatred. I’m really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such — I do get good ratings, you have to admit that — the tone is such hatred.
I watched this morning a couple of the networks. And I have to say, Fox & Friends in the morning, they’re very honorable people. They’re very — not because they’re good, because they hit me also when I do something wrong. But they have the most honest morning show. That’s all I can say. It’s the most honest.The press is dishonest and finally a Republican leader is calling the press on it.
And there was this from Trump:
No, that’s how I won. I won with news conferences and probably speeches. I certainly didn’t win by people listening to you people. That’s for sure. But I’m having a good time.
Tomorrow, they will say, “Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.” 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.
But tomorrow, the headlines are going to be, “Donald Trump rants and raves.” I’m not ranting and raving.Later, Jim Acosta of CNN, suffering butt hurt, asked, "When you call it Fake News, you’re undermining confidence in our news media [inaudible] important."
No, no. I do that. Here’s the thing. OK. I understand what you’re — and you’re right about that, except this. See, I know when I should get good and when I should get bad. And sometimes I’ll say, “Wow, that’s going to be a great story.” And I’ll get killed.
I know what’s good and bad. I’d be a pretty good reporter, not as good as you. But I know what’s good. I know what’s bad. And when they change it and make it really bad, something that should be positive — sometimes something that should be very positive, they’ll make OK. They’ll even make it negative.
So I understand it. So, because I’m there. I know what was said. I know who’s saying it. I’m there. So it’s very important to me.
Look, I want to see an honest press. When I started off today by saying that it’s so important to the public to get an honest press. The press — the public doesn’t believe you people anymore. Now, maybe I had something to do with that. I don’t know. But they don’t believe you. If you were straight and really told it like it is, as Howard Cosell used to say, right?
Of course, he had some questions also. But if you were straight, I would be your biggest booster. I would be your biggest fan in the world, including bad stories about me. But if you go - as an example, you’re CNN, I mean it’s story after story after story is bad. I won. I won. And the other thing, chaos because zero chaos. We are running - this is a fine-tuned machine and Reince happens to be doing a good job but half of his job is putting out lies by the press.
You know, I said to him yesterday this whole Russia scam that you guys are building so that you don’t talk about the real subject which is illegal leaks, but I watched him yesterday working so hard to try and get that story proper. And I’m saying “here’s my chief of staff,” a really good guy, did a phenomenal job at RNC. I mean, he won the election, right?
We won the presidency. We got some senators, we got some -- all over the country, you take a look, he’s done a great job. And I said to myself, you know -- and I said to somebody that was in the room, I said “you take a look at Reince, he’s working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires.” I mean, they’re fake. They’re not true. And isn’t that a shame because he’d rather be working on healthcare, he’d rather be working on tax reform, Jim.Trump took their questions and took them to school.
Fake News is not news you disagree with.
Fake News is made-up stuff.
Trump ended the press conference:
This isn’t Donald Trump that divided a nation. We went eight years with President Obama and we went many years before President Obama. We lived in a divided nation. And I am going to try -- I will do everything within my power to fix that. I want to thank everybody very much.
It’s a great honor to be with you. Thank you. Thank you very much, thanks.Conservatives have searched for nearly three decades for their next Reagan.
They got Trump instead.
Different era. Reagan never had the House, and had the Senate for only six years. He had no press and no Twitter.
Trump has the House, the Senate, Fox News, and Twitter.
And on Thursday, he finally became the undisputed champion of the conservative movement.
We shall follow.
"Trump the Establishment," my look at the general election, is available in paperback at Create Space, or if you prefer or (via Instapundit) Amazon as a paperback.
The Kindle version of "Trump the Establishment" debuts March 1. Amazon is now taking orders.
This is the sequel to "Trump the Press," which covered the nomination. It is available on Kindle, or in paperback on Create Space.
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