Visits by world leaders are opportunities for Presidents to show their best face to the world and give proof that they are in command of the Oval Office. At the same time they contain hidden traps during periods of controversy because the Press conferences then give journalists the chance to ask difficult questions. The measure of any #President is in his capacity to answer these questions. Yesterday the President did this in the wrong way.

Netanyahu's visit

The visit of Israeli #Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was always going to be difficult. The issue of the new Israeli settlements had already caused some discomfort for President #Donald Trump , but the meeting seemed to go well for the new President with the controversial Prime Minister.

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They then faced the Press as expected and the inevitable question was asked about the issue that had been dominating the news for the last few days and it came from a journalist that had already run afoul of the President at his first press conference three weeks ago.

At the end of the press conference CNN journalist Jim Acosta asked President Trump about the resignation of Senior Security Advisor #Michael Flynn over the Russian contact scandal. The description of the reply by Huffington Post was succinct and devastating “the president smiled, thanked the audience and walked away”.

This was the wrong answer.

Weapons

Questions are weapons for the Press and politicians, not just to be able to gain information, but also to put the subjects at unease on particularly sensitive issues. As such they are par for the course for any politician, let alone the President of the United States.

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For this reason the answers are also weapons as they counteract the original questions and rectify the effect sought by who asks the questions. In the midst of a public scandal as that involving former four star general Flynn and now leaks that other Trump staff may be involved, the 45th President should have expected the question and had an answer ready to supply the world’s press.

What happened was an image that was more damaging than any answer that #Donald Trump may have given, his withdrawal from a battle rather than face up to his responsibilities. The photo of Trump walking away from a relevant question may well follow him for the next four years.

Responsibilities

A businessman only has to answer to his partners, or shareholders. If he works for himself, he is responsible only to himself for his decisions and the consequences will only be felt in the bank balance if those choices are wrong. The reality for a politician is very different and yesterday Donald Trump displayed to the world that his has not understood this reality.

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A politician and above all a Head of Government is not responsible only to himself, but to all the citizens of his countries for his decisions and actions. They are the ones who voted for him and they will be the ones who decide if they will vote to give him another term. The Press is the means by which the President explains to the citizens what he did, or why something had happened. The Press is also the means for him to tell the country how he will resolve problems.

Walking away from a legitimate question is not facing up to his responsibilities. The President must now acknowledge his own role in the issues dominating the Press and explain to the country what he intends to do.

As long as he avoids addressing issues yesterday’s image of a President in retreat from the Press will remain in the public mind and will only be replaced when he finally decides to act rather than complain by tweet. It is now up to him to decide what he will do.