President-elect Donald Trump finally gave his highly-anticipated press conference this morning from Trump Tower in New York. This was Trump’s first presser in 167 days (July 2015). The conference began at 11:14 a.m. ET, and lasted for slightly more than an hour.
George Stephanopoulos anchored ABC’s coverage, and ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reported from Trump Tower. Lester Holt and Chuck Todd anchored on NBC, and NBC News’ Hallie Jackson was on the scene. The CBS This Morning team of Charlie Rose, Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell, Face the Nation moderator John Dickerson anchored for CBS. Major Garrett reported for CBS News from Trump Tower.
Brian Williams anchored coverage on MSNBC. Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper anchored for CNN. Jon Scott and Jenna Lee of Happening Now were joined by Bret Baier to anchor coverage for Fox News. John Roberts reported for Fox News from Trump Tower. Gregg Jarrett anchored for FOX broadcasting.
Incoming director of communications Sean Spicer gave opening remarks, predictably bringing up last night’s news about the report that Russia had been attempting to comprise President-elect Trump. He called out BuzzFeed and CNN for their “sad and pathetic attempt to get clicks,” and referred to the former as a “left wing blog that was openly hostile to the president-elect’s campaign.”
“It was highly irresponsible of them to drop highly salacious, and flat out false information on the internet just days before the pres.-elect takes the oath of office.”
Incoming vice president Mike Pence then introduced Trump, and said, “I am profoundly honored and humbled to take the office as Vice President of the United States in nine days.” Pence credited Trump’s energy in building the cabinet, saying 19 of the 21 spots have been filled, and he also called out the media for being “irresponsible.”
Trump then took the stage. In his introductory remarks, he talked about how he used to constantly gave press conferences, but stopped because he felt that he was being treating unfairly by the mainstream press. He went on to thank the news organizations who decided not to publish the document. “There were some news organizations that were so professional, and I’ve just gone up a notch as to what I think of you.” He also bashed the intelligence agencies for releasing the info. “This is going to be a tremendous blot on their record.”
Trump then talked about how car companies will be moving more plants into to the Midwest, particularly Fiat/Chrysler, and said that Ford will be expanding in Michigan.
He talked about how pharma “gets away with murder,” and wants to see more bidding for drugs. “We don’t bid properly, and we will save billions of dollars by doing so,” said Trump.
Trump announced that he has named David J. Shulkin his VA secretary, and before taking the first question, he said: “I will be the greatest jobs producer that God ever created.”
The first question went to John Roberts of Fox News, who asked the pres.-elect whether or not he had received the notorious two-page summary, and if he believes Putin ordered hacks of the DNC and RNC. “If so, how will that impact your relationship with him?”
“It’s a disgrace that information would be let out,” answered Trump. “It’s fake news. It’s phony stuff and it didn’t happen. Sick people put that crap together.” And as far as the hacking, he admits that he believes Russia did it, but also mentioned he thinks the U.S. also gets hacked by other countries.
He also criticized the DNC, saying that their defense against the hacks wasn’t sufficient. “If Donald Trump got the questions before the debate, it would be the biggest story in the history of stories.”
The second question went to Jonathan Karl of ABC: “In terms of that intelligence report, the second part of their conclusion was that Vladimir Putin ordered it because he aspired to help you in the election. Do you accept that part of the finding and will you undo what President Obama did to punish the Russians for this, or will you keep it in place?”
“If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability,” Trump stated.
“I have no loans or deals with Russia,” said Trump. “Over the weekend, I was offered over $2 billion to do a real estate deal in Dubai. I turned it down, but I didn’t have to. I will have no conflict of interest, even though I could run the Trump Organization and the country, but I don’t want to do that.”
In regard to Jackson’s question about tax returns: “I’m still under audit,” Trump said. “Anyway, only reporters care about the tax returns. The people don’t.”
A Trump attorney named Sheri Dillon from the firm Morgan, Lewis and Bockius made some remarks regarding the Pres.-elect’s business arrangements and how he is handing over the reins of the Trump Organization to Donald Jr. and Eric Trump. She compared Trump’s business situation to that of Nelson Rockefeller when he became vice president, and remarked that Trump “should not be expected to destroy the company he built.”
Finally came a question on Obamacare: “Will you repeal and replace?” Trump answered by mentioning how big of a disaster Obamacare has been. “We want to let it implode in 2017…this is the Democrats’ problem.” He then went on to say that he will submit a new plan of “repeal and replace as soon as possible.”
“The repeal and replace will occur essentially simultaneously,” said Trump. “It will be far less expensive and far better.”
Major Garrett from CBS News then asked a series of questions: “Based on your tweet from this morning, are we living in Nazi Germany? What is the timeline in terms of your Supreme Court nominations? Will the U.S. taxpayer be paying for this border wall?”
In regard to the Supreme Court, Trump said he has a list of 20 judges, “and they’re outstanding in every case.” He also said that he will make a decision regarding the replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia “within 2 weeks of January 20th.”
Trump also stood by “Nazi Germany” tweet, once again going after intelligence agencies for leaking “fake news.”
He later referred to BuzzFeed as “a failing pile of garbage that will suffer the consequences.” He told CNN’s Jim Acosta: “Your organization is terrible, and I am not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”