President Donald Trump gave a memorable press conference on Thursday—but not for the right reasons, per se. Before taking questions from reporters, he spent most of his speech calling out news outlets. Here are some highlights:
A fine-tuned machine
To date, Trump’s travel ban was blocked by federal court justices, a senior advisor was asked to resign after less than a month on the job, and one of his picks for cabinet withdrew himself from consideration when it became apparent that enough Republicans weren’t going to back him for the job.
Trump: “I turn on the T.V., open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos. Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite the fact that I can’t get my Cabinet approved.”
Real leaks, fake news
Trump continued with has mantra of calling journalism “fake news” when leaked reports came out of his campaign team having contact with Russian officials during the election run. A reporter asked if the leaks—which Trump has promised to get to the bottom of—are real.
Trump: “The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake.”
About that whole “being the least racist person…”
In a presser where Trump called himself the “least racist person” you’ve ever seen in your entire life, a black reporter asked Trump what his urban agenda to fix inner cities—as per his campaign pledge—would look like, and she followed up by asking if he would meet with the Congressional Black Caucus.
Trump: “Do you want to set up the meeting? Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?”
Journalist: “No, no, no; I’m just a reporter.”
Trump is known for picking favourites when it comes to media questions—but he’s not normally this obvious about it.
TRUMP: “Wait. Let’s see. Who’s—I want to find a friendly reporter. Are you a friendly reporter? Watch how friendly he is. Wait. Wait. Watch how friendly he is. Go ahead.”
But when the reporter started talking about bomb threats made on Jewish Centres and various anti-Semitic threats, Trump cut him off, said it wasn’t a fair question and told him to sit down. He then offered: “I am the least anti-Semitic person you have ever seen in your entire life.”
As Trump talked about how he’d like to be tough on Russia, though have a friendly relationship with Putin, Trump mused about how attacking a Russian ship off the U.S. Coast would be good for his ratings.
Trump: “The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles off shore right out of the water. Everyone in this country is going to say ‘Oh, it’s so great.’ That’s not great. I would love to be able to get along with Russia.”
It seems pretty obvious that Trump watches a lot of CNN, but when a CNN reporter confronted Trump about calling his network fake news, Trump had a quick reply:
Trump: “I’m changing it from fake news though. ‘Very fake news.’ ”
“Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.”
Trump mostly ranted and raved at the media during his press conference, though he did offer this prediction for tomorrows headlines:
Trump: “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.”
One last thing
Trump announced his new pick for Secretary of Labor: Alexander Acosta. (Trump’s first choice, Andrew Puzder, withdrew from the running when it became obvious enough that Republicans were going to vote against him to thwart the nomination.)
Watch it all here:
This piece originally appeared on macleans.ca.