Donald Trump held his very first solo press conference Thursday, at which he mostly yelled at the media, because it’s the one thing he’s really good at. He griped about all the unfair coverage he’s gotten, denied that there’s anything remotely like chaos in the White House, and reviewed all the enormous successes of his first few weeks in office. Trump started by announcing his new appointment for Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, about whom we know nothing; then most of the prepared remarks were a laundry list of the executive orders he’s signed, punctuated by shots at the media and his enemies, who are legion, but will surely be crushed, because he’s the best. A few great moments:
“I had the biggest electoral vote margin since Reagan.” The dishonest media was right on that one:
Trump explained that all of the problems of his early days in office are, of course, Barack Obama’s fault: “I inherited a mess.” You know, like the 75 consecutive months of job growth, which is absolutely nothing like the cushy time Barack Obama had in his first month, when the economy was in freefall so he could just pass a big stimulus package. He also insisted that reports of chaos and infighting in his White House are complete fabrications, saying, “This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.” Donald Trump has never apparently actually seen a fine-tuned machine, because he pays people to take care of tuning the machines.
And then we got to the questions. Despite his insistence that the dishonest media had treated Michael Flynn incredibly badly, Trump admitted that he actually had been the one to fire Flynn. Was Mike Pence kept in the dark about Flynn’s conversations about sanctions with the Russian ambassador? Well, sure, because Trump didn’t think Flynn had done anything wrong, but then he had to fire Flynn because he had withheld information from Pence. That clip ought to get a lot of play. Here’s a good summary:
Trump did at least give a clear answer on one thing: He did not tell Flynn to talk about sanctions with the Russian ambassador, but he certainly would have told him to do it if he’d thought of it.New York Times’ report Wednesday had already, “as you all know,” been completely disproven.
Oh, and the leaks! The leaks are so terrible! Everyone is always leaking and it’s a crime. And the stories being leaked are all fake. No, you won’t be getting any clarification on that: Yes, the leaks are of real classified information, and therefore a criminal offense, but the stories based on the leaks are completely fake.
Then there was the fight with CNN’s Jim Acosta (no relation) about how CNN is completely fake news and can’t be relied upon, because it’s nothing but biased lies. No one at CNN can be trusted, and as proof, Trump pointed out that at his rallies (he can hardly wait!!!), the crowds want to turn around and attack CNN, so what more proof do you need than that? The public, he explained, is smart, and that’s why no one watches CNN at all. Trump isn’t a bad person, really, but CNN is just nothing but hatred. Trump isn’t undermining the First Amendment, the media are undermining it by lying about Trump all the time.
On Russia: Trump never talked to Russia. It’s a ruse. It would be wonderful if we could get along, and all this fake news is actually making it harder to deal with Russia, because Putin is hearing all this negative stuff about Russia in the news, so it’s actually harder to make a deal with Trump. Putin has probably been provoked to test missiles, buzz a destroyer, and park a spy ship off the East coast. But by golly, Trump’s going to go right ahead and give the store to Putin to prove how brave he is. If only the liars in the press would back off all this Russia stuff, Trump could be tough on Russia and we would be friends! But let’s not forget: A nuclear war would be bad. After much difficulty, Trump finally said that no one on his campaign team, to his knowledge, had been in contact with Russia during the campaign.
The travel ban: It went very smoothly, and the courts gave us a very bad decision. Respectfully. And the 9th Circuit Court is terrible. Also, we’re going to roll out a brand new executive order next week, and it will be fine this time. We had to do it immediately so terrorists wouldn’t come streaming into the country, and maybe they already have, but we’re vetting everyone very carefully. In fact, we’re vetting so carefully that we’ll even save reporters’ lives from terrorists.
Racism: Donald Trump is the least racist, least anti-Semitic person in the world, and in fact it’s offensive that anyone would even ask him an insulting question about whether he’s encouraged racism or anti-Semitism. SIT DOWN!
Trump bullies Jewish reporter who asked for plan to fight anti-Semitism pic.twitter.com/65jVHlg2cS
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) February 16, 2017
Immigration: A fair question! Most of the kids covered by DACA are great, apart from the drug dealers and gang members, so we have to deal with them with a lot of heart, because Donald Trump loves kids. He has kids, you know. So we’ll tailor the new executive order to fit with Barack Obama’s “bad decision.”
And then the best question of all, about Melania Trump’s opening of a White House visitor’s center, gave Trump the chance to say what a wonderful woman his wife is, and then to attack all the terrible mean things the press is always saying about her.
The inner cities: Trump is going to fix them, and that’s why he did incredibly well with minority voters. He’s going to save them, and they’re terrible places where people are “living in hell” and afraid to go out. What will he do? Chicago is worse than parts of the middle east. Reporter April Ryan asked if he’d include the Congressional Black Caucus in his plans for fixing the inner cities, and so naturally Trump asked her to arrange a meeting with them, to which Ryan pointed out “I’m a reporter.” Then Trump called Elijah Cummings a chicken for canceling a meeting with him.
So. That thing happened. A souffle of half-truths and resentments, and did you know that Trump won, even though the lying media said he couldn’t?