January 12, 2017

Donald Trump and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Press Conference


Yellow sheets. Hmm…

Hi there. President-elect Donald J. Trump, fresh off a long night trying to come up with some good tweets for his haters following the controversial publication of the BuzzFeed Dossier, but finding only bad tweets that compared the United States to Nazi Germany, screamed “witch hunt,” used lots of capital letters because those mean mad, and linked to known fake news website Lifezette, gave his first press conference in 167 days—the first since winning the election—just after eleven yesterday morning.

It went not very good.

But how could it have gone? The previous night had seen #PeePeeGate, which, no matter what, sorry, is funny. And the opposition’s tweets, of course, were golden. Which is to say, he had to really nail his own tweets, forcing him to stay up past his bedtime. But even putting all of that aside, Trump’s performance was lousy, leaving much to be desired — short, diverting, vindictive (he brought up Hillary Clinton several times) remarks that recalled his no-less-lousy campaign days.

Asked a question about his projected timeline for Republican leaders’ Repeal and Delay “plan,” he remarked incomprehensibly about the Affordable Care Act (which some people do not realize is the official name for Obamacare) for a few minutes. Asked about the recent reporting on his deep ties to Russia and his relationship to Vladimir Putin, he responded, “If Putin likes me, that’s an asset, not a liability.” Asked about his tax returns, he feigned surprise, eventually responding something to the effect of “How could that possibly matter now? I won [losing popular vote by three million] and therefore such questions do not matter anymore. The American people don’t care about that stuff.” This, of course, is false, not that he appears to care.

After the first round of questions, Trump handed the stage to Sheri Dillon who spoke in complete, understandable sentences. Unfortunately, what those sentences communicated was only a different brand of garbage. Meant to assuage those concerned over the president-elect’s myriad conflicts of interest, Dillon’s carefully delivered statement was quickly written off by numerous ethics and business professionals as totally misleading. Richard Painter, the man who served as chief ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, put it plain: “He has all of the conflicts of interest that he had before.” And Walter Schaub Jr., the director of the Office of Government Ethics, called the plan “wholly inadequate.”

None of this is unexpected, of course. And yet, somehow, I maintain some ability to experience shock. For example, when CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta attempted to ask Trump a question (“Since you’re attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question?”) and the president-elect categorically refused, responding: “I’m not going to give you a question. You’re fake news.” Acosta responded: “Mr. President-elect, that is not appropriate.”

And the Trump staff had a laugh.

Also, uh, ha-ha, Trump called BuzzFeed a “failing pile of garbage” for their decision to publish the aforementioned dossier. So Buzzfeed made some Failing Pile of Garbage merchandise. Proceeds from sales of this merchandise will go to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which, as we reported recently, sure could use all the help they can get.



Chad Felix is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House, and a former bookseller.