In the 167 days between Donald Trump‘s last press conference and today’s, little about his attitude has changed. Not his electoral victory, not his imminent ascension to the highest office in the land has altered the man who stood in front of the podium offering vague promises of great things ahead, referring to himself in third person, using his victory as justification for ignoring decades of precedent.
It was also business as usual vis-à-vis Trump’s adversarial attitude toward the press, or at least those members who have displeased him. In this case it was CNN and BuzzFeed in particular. After CNN broke the news last evening that both the president and president-elect had been briefed on a report that claimed Russia may have compromising information about Donald Trump, BuzzFeed released the report, although the allegations contained in the report have not been substantiated. CNN did not release any information about the report itself, but Trump lumped the two organizations together, calling them “fake news.”
And when CNN’s Jim Acosta tried to ask Trump a question, saying, “Since you’re attacking our news organization, can you give us a question?” Trump refused Acosta’s multiple attempts. “Your organization is terrible,” Trump said. “I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”
In a debrief on CNN following the conference, Acosta described what it looked like from his position in the presser. “He sort of pointed at me at one point and then waved his hand, as if ‘you’re not going to get a question,'” Acosta said. “And then as the news conference went on, as you heard, he was attacking this news organization repeatedly and I felt it was only fair that if our news organization is going to be attacked we get a chance to ask a follow-up question about what Donald Trump was talking about.”
And Acosta’s persistence led to a warning that he would be ejected if he continued:
At one point during this news conference, just in the interest of full disclosure and so everybody knows what’s going on and what was happening in the room, after I asked, and I guess you might say demanded, that we have a question, Sean Spicer, the incoming press secretary did say to me that if I were to do that again I was going to be thrown out of this press conference. Of course, Wolf, I had to persist there and try to get that question asked.
It’s going to be a long four years.