On his 28th day in office, President Trump held his first solo news conference. It lasted about 90 minutes and left viewers with a number of moments that were, well, out of the norm for presidential briefings. But, of course, those norms were set before Trump was elected president. The appearance proved a return to his free-wheeling style on the campaign trail.
Here are some of the moments that stand out when it comes to topic or delivery:
I guess it was the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.
Trump won the election. He is, after all, president. Still, months after the results were final, he still routinely brings up and misstates the size of his win in the electoral college. In this exchange, a reporter points out that former President Obama won more electoral votes than Trump (Obama had 332 in 2012; Trump had 302). Oh, and George H.W. Bush had 426 electoral votes when he beat Michael Dukakis in 1988.
The reporter asks why the American public should trust Trump when he provides inaccurate information.
His answer: “I don’t know. I was given that information. I was given — I actually, I’ve seen that information around. But it was a very substantial victory, do you agree with that?”
Russia is fake news.
Trump called the news media, in general, “fake” about 20 times during the course of his 90-minute presser. He also dodged the question about whether his campaign staff had connections to Russia, referring to the story as a fabrication.
Later, he said that he hadn’t “made a phone call to Russia in years,” adding, “I just have nobody to speak to.” Moments after that, he said Russian President Vladmir Putin had called him after he won the election and again after he was inaugurated.
Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates.
Another hot topic for Trump was Hillary Clinton. Her name came up about a dozen times. This particular remark traces back to leaked emails that purportedly showed Donna Brazile sharing information with the Clinton campaign prior to a debate held during the Democratic primary.
It’s common for a president to refer to the actions of the previous president and administration. It’s unusual for a new president to spend as much time, or more, talking about his former rival for the office.
Tomorrow, they will say, ‘Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.’ I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you.
Trump knows how to make headlines.
Nuclear holocaust would be like no other.
When asked whether Putin was testing Trump, he said he did not believe so. He added that both the U.S. and Russia were “powerful nuclear countries,” which led him to this soundbite.
I’ve known her for a long time. She was a very successful person; she was a very successful model. She did really well.
Trump liked the question that led to this aside. He was asked about his wife, Melania, reopening the White House Visitors Office, which had been closed for longer than usual. Melania Trump is still living in Trump Tower in New York, where their young son, Barron, is enrolled in school. He went on to complain she was being treated “so unfairly” before talking about her modeling career.
Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?
Trump posed this question to April Ryan, an African American journalist with American Urban Radio Networks. She had asked the president if he would include the “CBC,” a reference to the Congressional Black Caucus, in his efforts to improve conditions in what Trump had referred to as the “inner cities.”
Trump responded: “Am I going to include who?”
When Ryan elaborated, asking specifically about the Congressional Black Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus, Trump asked her if she was friends with them and could set up the meeting.
His request came shortly after he told those gathered: “I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person.”