In a press conference ostensibly called to announce his new nomination as Labor Secretary, President #Donald Trump turned what would normally be a staid presentation into nearly eighty minutes of declarations and challenges to the press and all those who criticize his actions. Worse still for him, he confirmed that the cause of his biggest headaches was real, but the problem was the messengers that publicized it.
The missing nominee
Strangely, given the reason for the press conference, Alexander Acosta who #President Trump nominated as his new Labor Secretary was not present. He was named to replace the previous nominee Andrew Puzder who had withdrawn his nomination when it became clear that he did not have the numbers to be confirmed.
His absence was a hint that the message the President wanted to give was another and not directed solely at the general public. Thus began a long list of complaints and contestations of the very people that would then spread the message to the world, the journalists.
The United States and the world watched on in disbelief at a President that seemed to take out his frustrations on the messengers and not the real reason for the dissatisfaction that has already caused protests in the first four weeks of the new Administration.
Yet the problem for the journalists would not be in reporting the running series of declarations by the businessman turned President, but to explain them to the public, especially to those that did not vote for him.
Without doubt most of the people that voted for #Donald Trump would have welcomed the attack on the press that he blamed for the problems facing the #White House, but even many of these would have been confused by two contradictory sentences that simply prove that the journalists are doing their job and not inventing news.
As widely reported in all forms of the Press, the President stated that “The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake.” The contradiction contained in these two sentences is stunning.
In the first sentence the President confirmed that the leaks that led to the resignation of Senior Security Advisor Michael Flynn were real and that the contacts with the Russian Ambassador did occur. The sentence also confirms that the other reports of strange telephone calls with foreign leaders, of his dissatisfaction with staff members, particularly Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway are real and also the leaks describing the White House as dysfunctional are all real.
This then also leaves open all the other leaks, such as the influence of former Breitbart News chief and now President Trump’s Chief Strategist #Steve Bannon on President Trump. One sentence opened up volumes of questions for journalists to ask.
For this reason the second sentence attacking the Press for its reporting of the leaks makes no real sense. If the Press reported real news in the leaks, then the news just could not be “false”, but aspects of the behaviour of the White House that must be reported and addressed,
In the press conference Donald Trump did not behave as a President, but as a salesman offended at the customers who criticized his products. The repeated used of adjectives such a “best” and “terrific” to describe his actions and such as “worse” and bad” to disparage the opposition’s product is not the language of a leader. It is the language of a used car salesman.
Yesterday’s performance opened up the doors for even more questioning and not just just by the Press on his declarations. With his statement that the leaks were real he provided even more ammunition for those politicians, Republican and Democrat, who want to investigate the Flynn resignation and the details of the reported regular contacts between the Trump team and Russia over the last 18 months.
In attacking the messengers, Donald Trump may have initiated actions that would demand proper answers and not simply the palaver of a salesman desperate to sell his products.