ralph lauren polo t shirts but won’t hold a press conference Editorial
To be sure, he’s held press events where there are others on stage with him. During overseas visits, he’s sometimes fielded questions from reporters as he stood with foreign leaders. He’s also engaged in what are known as “gaggles,” those impromptu, brief chats with reporters.
But neither is a substitute for the real McCoy.
Trump’s last press conference was staged on Feb. 16, 2017. To reread the transcript a full year later serves as a reminder of just how odd was the session. A couple of examples:
In answer to a question about Trump’s persistence in overstating his margin of victory in the 2016 presidential election, he said, “I was given that information. I was given I actually, I’ve seen that information around.”
Well, that surely inspires confidence in the veracity of his assertions, no?
Here he was on our nation’s relationship with Russia:
“If Russia and the United States actually got together and got along and don’t forget, we’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. There’s no upside. We’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. I have been briefed. And I can tell you one thing about a briefing that we’re allowed to say because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it: nuclear holocaust would be like no other.”
Yes, the president of the United States actually said, “nuclear holocaust would be like no other.”
One more answer from Trump’s last press conference tells quite the tale in light of what’s (not) been happening with the Obama era program known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which protected from deportation those who’d been brought to our nation illegally as children.
Asked if he planned to continue the program or to end it, Trump said:
“We’re gonna show great heart. DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, I will tell you.
“But the DACA situation is a very, very it’s a very difficult thing for me because you know, I love these kids, I love kids, I have kids and grandkids. And I find it very, very hard doing what the law says exactly to do and you know, the law is rough.”
Seven months later, of course, he’d move to end DACA. And the White House on Thursday threatened to veto a bipartisan bill in the Senate that would have given both sides much of what they’d wanted, including money for Trump’s wall on our border with Mexico, and protection for the so called dreamers.
Instead of a show of “great heart,” he instead gave the dreamers the back of his hand.
Regular press conferences have been a staple of the modern presidency until Trump. Reporters, who act as the eyes and ears of the citizens, are given an opportunity to ask questions, and to receive answers on the record. A president who isn’t up to the task, who lacks detailed information, who can’t think on his feet or reason clearly, puts his failings on full display. Previous presidents, not all of them masters of the genre, nonetheless routinely took part.
Trump, with his continued refusal to face the press, demonstrates that he’s nothing like the tough guy he imagines himself to be, but is instead little more than a chicken.