Trump's Press Conference Ups The Lies, Hostility

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to see President Trump in full action against the press.

In an hour-long press conference, which was scheduled to announce Alexander Acosta had been chosen as the President’s next nominee for Secretary of Labor, the press corps prodded the President on issues ranging from General Flynn’s resignation to the rise of anti-Semitism and fake news.

Trump supporter and CNN commentator Jeffrey Lord mused to Anderson Cooper that yesterday’s press conference was “the launch of a new reality show called ‘Beat the Press.’ ” 

One of the most startling revelations: President Trump was being fed false information by his staff, while at the same time, repeatedly blaming the press for running fake news stories.

In the President’s opening monologue, he touted his strong Electoral College win: “We got 306 because people came out and voted like they’ve never seen before. So that’s the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.”



Except it wasn’t.

Peter Alexander of NBC was on the case, and asked: “Very simply, you said today that you had the biggest electoral margins since Ronald Reagan with 304 or 306 electoral votes. In fact, President Obama got 365 in 2008.”

To which President Trump responded: “Well, I’m talking about Republican. Yes.”

Except, that’s not true, either.

Alexander continued: “President Obama 332. George H.W. Bush, 426 when he won as president ... I guess my question is: Why should Americans trust you when you have accused the information they receive of being fake when you’re providing information that’s fake?”

“Well, I don’t know. I was given that information. I was given -- actually, I’ve seen that information around. But it was a very substantial victory.”

This is the new political order. Either the President of the United States is deliberately being fed false information, which he then repeats in public press conferences to the country. Or, the alternative is true: He knows the information is false and is intentionally misleading the American people, which is even more sinister.

The size of his Electoral College win is not a big deal. Lying about it is, especially when the facts are easy to substantiate.

What's important here is the disturbing pattern of lies and deceptions. When the President lies about issues that affect the American people -- exaggerating crime rates or promoting the "fake news" myth -- it undermines his credibility. When his staff invents terrorists attacks (Kellyanne Conway's "Bowling Green Massacre"), his administration stands guilty of the very charge he rails against: creating fake news.

And the Trump Administration's credibility plummets anew.

Other mind-bending revelations from yesterday’s conference: President Trump doesn’t watch CNN anymore -- except when he does.

“I watch CNN -- it’s so much anger and hatred and just the hatred. I don’t watch it anymore because it’s very good,” stumbled the President.

When CNN’s Jim Acosta had a chance to ask a question, he forcefully asked whether the President’s attack on the media was undermining the First Amendment.

Part of the President’s response was anything but intelligible: “You’re CNN -- I mean, it’s story after story after story is bad. I won. I won. And the other thing: Chaos. There’s zero chaos. We are running -- this is a fine-tuned machine.” 

The administration clearly isn’t a fine-tuned machine, and President Trump’s wild performance yesterday is a testament to that fact.

Bottom line: The press conference was unacceptable. Trump's erratic, hostile behavior, coupled with his lack of dignity, is not what the American people should rationally expect from a president. His performance was so outrageous that Fox News’ Shepard Smith couldn’t help but say on air: “It is crazy what we are watching every day, it is absolutely crazy. He keeps repeating ridiculous throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia.

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