The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about [it], we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people. Tremendous disservice. We have to talk to find out what’s going on, because the press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.... I’m here... to take my message straight to the people...He just said "I’m not ranting and raving" 3 times in close succession. Does he want them to say he's ranting and raving? It would prove him right. His bet is hedged. He cannot lose.
The failing New York Times wrote a big, long front-page story yesterday. And it was very much discredited, as you know. It was — it’s a joke.... Wall Street Journal did a story today that was almost as disgraceful as the failing New York Time’s story.... And I’ll tell you something, I’ll be honest, because I sort of enjoy this back and forth that I guess I have all my life but I’ve never seen more dishonest media than frankly, the political media....
I don’t mind bad stories. I can handle a bad story better than anybody as long as it’s true and, you know, over a course of time, I’ll make mistakes and you’ll write badly and I’m OK with that. But I’m not OK when it is fake. I mean, I watch CNN, it’s so much anger and hatred and just the hatred....
Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates. Can you imagine — seriously — can you imagine if I received the questions? It would be the electric chair. OK, he should be put in the electric — you would even call for the reinstitution of the death penalty, OK...
The public... they read newspapers, they see television, they watch. They don’t know if it’s true or false because they’re not involved. I’m involved. I’ve been involved with this stuff all my life. But I’m involved. So I know when you’re telling the truth or when you’re not. I just see many, many untruthful things.
And I’ll tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know the word “tone["?] The tone is such hatred. I’m really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such — I do get good ratings, you have to admit that — the tone is such hatred.....
Well, you look at your show that goes on at 10 o’clock in the evening [Don Lemon's "CNN Tonight]. You just take a look at that show. That is a constant hit. The panel is almost always exclusive anti-Trump. The good news is he doesn’t have good ratings. But the panel is almost exclusive anti-Trump. And the hatred and venom coming from his mouth; the hatred coming from other people on your network.
Now, I will say this. I watch it. I see it. I’m amazed by it. And I just think you’d be a lot better off, I honestly do. The public gets it, you know. Look, when I go to rallies, they turn around, they start screaming at CNN. They want to throw their placards at CNN. You know. I — I think you would do much better by being different....
Now, they’ll take this news conference — I’m actually having a very good time, OK? But they’ll take this news conference — don’t forget, that’s the way I won. Remember, I used to give you a news conference every time I made a speech, which was like every day. OK?... I won with news conferences and probably speeches. I certainly didn’t win by people listening to you people. That’s for sure. But I’m having a good time.
Tomorrow, they will say, “Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.” I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you. You know, you’re dishonest people. But — but I’m not ranting and raving. I love this. I’m having a good time doing it. But tomorrow, the headlines are going to be, “Donald Trump rants and raves.” I’m not ranting and raving.
QUESTION: If I may, just one more followup...Now, he's openly playing with them. He said he was having a good time, and he's not ranting and raving. So watch him having a good time, toying with the questioner. What? Do you like this? Do you like getting slapped around? He consults Peter: Hey, whaddya say, Peter, should I let him have some more?
TRUMP: Should I let him have a little bit more? What do you think, Peter? Peter, should I have — let him have a little bit more?
QUESTION: Just because of the attack of fake news and attacking our network, I just want to ask you, sir...Sir! By the way, this is Jim Acosta (of CNN), who just happens to have the same last name as the new nominee for Secretary of Labor. Trump is getting very loose at this point as the back and forth in the transcript shows:
TRUMP: I’m changing it from fake news, though.Does this have any real effect softening Acosta up? It breaks up the rhythm of the question. It's disarming, I think. If you can go back and forth, on some level, you are (sort of like) friends.
QUESTION: Doesn’t that under...
TRUMP: Very fake news.
QUESTION: ... I know, but aren’t you...
TRUMP: Go ahead.
QUESTION: Real news, Mr. President, real news.
TRUMP: And you’re not related to our new...
QUESTION: I am not related, sir. No. I do like the sound of Secretary Acosta, I must say.
TRUMP: I looked — you know, I looked at that name. I said, wait a minute, is there any relation there? Alex Acosta.
QUESTION: I’m sure you checked that out, sir.
TRUMP: OK. Now I checked it — I said — they said, “No, sir.” I said, “Do me a favor, go back and check the family tree.”
QUESTION: But aren’t you — aren’t you concerned, sir, that you are undermining the people’s faith in the First Amendment, freedom of the press, the press in this country, when you call stories you don’t like “fake news”? Why not just say it’s a story I don’t like.If I were on the receiving end of that question, I'd say: Freedom of speech and the press is only a freedom to speak and to publish things, not an entitlement to be deferred to or shown respect. We all have freedom of speech, and if I criticize you — which I should do to defend myself, especially when you are distorting things — I'm exercising my freedom of speech. And I am speaking or writing to the people just as you are speaking and writing to the people, and the idea of the First Amendment is that the people get to hear and read it all, and they get to think for themselves and talk and write to each other, and we're all involved in figuring out what is true and what is right. You see, you in the professional mainstream press want to filter it all and serve the people what you say is the truth, all pre-digested and gooey. But the people don't want that sickly fast-food truth anymore. You can keep serving it, or you can figure out how to serve up something better, but you don't dominate the truth market anymore, and you shouldn't. And your effort to invoke law — the First Amendment?! Are you kidding?!! — to force all the other speakers and writers to stand down and let you have your old monopoly back? That's just plain ludicrous, and I'm embarrassed for you that you would try to palm off an interpretation of constitutional law that's so blatantly bankrupt. It's such a good thing that people don't rely on you anymore.
TRUMP: I do that.
QUESTION: When you call it “fake news,” you’re undermining confidence in our news media (inaudible) important.
But here's what Trump said about why he says "fake news" and not just I don't like the story:
TRUMP: No, no. I do that. Here’s the thing. OK. I understand what you’re — and you’re right about that, except this. See, I know when I should get good and when I should get bad. And sometimes I’ll say, “Wow, that’s going to be a great story.” And I’ll get killed. I know what’s good and bad. I’d be a pretty good reporter, not as good as you. But I know what’s good. I know what’s bad. And when they change it and make it really bad, something that should be positive — sometimes something that should be very positive, they’ll make OK. They’ll even make it negative. So I understand it. So, because I’m there. I know what was said. I know who’s saying it. I’m there. So it’s very important to me.Howard Cosell had some questions? That's a side issue not explored!
Look, I want to see an honest press. When I started off today by saying that it’s so important to the public to get an honest press. The press — the public doesn’t believe you people anymore. Now, maybe I had something to do with that. I don’t know. But they don’t believe you. If you were straight and really told it like it is, as Howard Cosell used to say, right?
Of course, he had some questions also.
But if you were straight, I would be your biggest booster. I would be your biggest fan in the world, including bad stories about me. But if you go - as an example, you’re CNN, I mean it’s story after story after story is bad. I won. I won. And the other thing, chaos because zero chaos.He lapses into speaking in shorthand. If you like him, you can easily see what he means. He's referring to recent stories that pushed the meme that the White House is in chaos — I devoted Monday to blogging this theme. — and saying it's all fake because there is no chaos.
We are running - this is a fine-tuned machine and Reince happens to be doing a good job but half of his job is putting out lies by the press (ph)....By "putting out lies" there, he doesn't mean Priebus is emitting the lies. He's visualizing the lies as fires that need to be put out.
I would be your biggest fan in the world if you treated me right.Art of the deal, no? You give me that, and I'll give you this.
I sort of understand there’s a certain bias maybe by Jeff (ph) or somebody, you know - you know, whatever reason. But - and I understand that. But you’ve got to be at least a little bit fair and that’s why the public sees it. They see it. They see it’s not fair. You take a look at some of your shows and you see the bias and the hatred. And the public is smart, they understand it.Notice that he never got to Acosta's invocation of the First Amendment. He used flattery — you're a better journalist than I would be, and I think I would be good — and set himself up as a friendly colleague. He empathized with journalists and presented himself as concerned that the public doesn't want to listen to the press. He offered ideas about how the press could build their relationship with the public. In this framework — which ignores the (nonexistent) legal requisites — there's really a shared self-interest, and everyone could be better off: Trump, the press, and the people. You should do what I want because it's what we all should want, and there's nothing I'm asking you to do that isn't what you, thinking clearly, will want to do. I want you to criticize me and say something is bad when it's bad. Just don't say it's bad when it's good or very, very bad when it's only a little bad.
QUESTION: (inaudible) ...for those who believe that there is something to it, is there anything that you have learned over the last few weeks that you might be able to reveal that might ease their concerns that this isn’t fake news? And second...The play on words is disarming. And Trump veers into a discussion about how bad Hillary Clinton would have been at dealing with the Russians. There's not even a gesture at responding to the plea to take back the "fake news" insult. If anything, he piles on a new accusation that the media is impairing efforts to deal with Russia.
TRUMP: ... I think they don’t believe it. I don’t think the public - that’s why the Rasmussen poll just has me through the roof. I don’t think they believe it. Well, I guess one of the reasons I’m here today is to tell you the whole Russian thing, that’s a ruse. That’s a ruse....
Soon, another reporter asks about Russia. And look at the byplay here. Trump controls the roll-out of the question and throws the reporter off his rhythm. He will not let the man set up the question his way:
QUESTION: You mentioned the vessel — the spy vessel off the coast of the United States.He is different, in so many ways. But right there he means that it's virtually impossible now to make a deal — impossible because of the behavior of the press — but he is the great deal-maker. Imagine how he will preen when he gets something he can call a deal.
TRUMP: Not good.
QUESTION: There was a ballistic missile test that many interpret as a violation of an agreement between the two countries; and a Russian plane buzzed a U.S. destroyer.
TRUMP: Not good.
QUESTION: I listened to you during the campaign ...
TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me. When did it happen? It happened when, if you were Putin right now, you would say, “Hey, we’re back to the old games with the United States; there’s no way Trump can ever do a deal with us.” Because the — you have to understand. If I was just brutal on Russia right now, just brutal, people would say, you would say, “Oh, isn’t that wonderful.” But I know you well enough. Then you would say, “Oh, he was too tough; he shouldn’t have done that.” Look, all of the...
QUESTION: I’m just trying to find out your orientation to those...
TRUMP: Wait a minute. Wait, wait. Excuse me just one second.
TRUMP: All of those things that you mentioned are very recent, because probably Putin assumes that he’s not going to be able to make a deal with me because it’s politically not popular for me to make a deal. So Hillary Clinton tries a re-set. It failed. They all tried. But I’m different than those people....
TRUMP: I think Putin probably assumes that he can’t make a deal with me anymore because politically it would be unpopular for a politician to make a deal. I can’t believe I’m saying I’m a politician, but I guess that’s what I am now. Because, look, it would be much easier for me to be tough on Russia, but then we’re not going to make a deal. Now, I don’t know that we’re going to make a deal. I don’t know. We might. We might not. But it would be much easier for me to be so tough — the tougher I am on Russia, the better. But you know what? I want to do the right thing for the American people. And to be honest, secondarily, I want to do the right thing for the world.Cagey. Cute and cagey. He proceeds to remind us about nuclear war. You know what it would be like? He'll tell you: "like no other." And by the way: "Hillary Clinton gave away 20 percent of the uranium in the United States. She’s close to Russia." Meanwhile, you know what Trump gave Russia? "Nothing."
QUESTION: Could I just ask you — thank you very much, Mr. President. The trouble...He just right off insults BBC! He's very loose now.
TRUMP: Where are you from?
TRUMP: Here’s another beauty.
QUESTION: That’s a good line. Impartial, free and fair.Sarcasm! Yeah. Sure. The President just blurts out Yeah. Sure as if for his own amusement. (And yet, we here at home were laughing.)
TRUMP: Yeah. Sure.
QUESTION: Mr. President...We could banter back and forth but we'd end up with a transcript full of nothing. (Or you dancing on top of our heads.) Is that what you want?
TRUMP: Just like CNN right?
QUESTION: On the travel ban — we could banter back and forth. On the travel ban would you accept that that was a good example of the smooth running of government...
TRUMP: Yeah, I do. I do. Let me tell you about this government...Here's that shorthand speech again. He's saying the 9th Circuit has an unusually high proportion of its cases overturned in the Supreme Court. (And let me add: It's not that the 9th Circuit is wrong 80% of that time. Only a very small percentages of cases go on to be heard in the Supreme Court. A majority of the Supreme Court may disagree with 9th Circuit frequently because the leanings of the judges are different. I question whether "wrong" is the most accurate word for that disagreement between courts.)
QUESTION: Were there any mistakes...
TRUMP: Wait. Wait. I know who you are. Just wait. Let me tell you about the travel ban. We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban. But we had a bad court. Got a bad decision. We had a court that’s been overturned. Again, may be wrong. But I think it’s 80 percent of the time, a lot.
We had a bad decision. We’re going to keep going with that decision. We’re going to put in a new executive order next week some time. But we had a bad decision....Important news there. Trump is going to deal with the setback in court by writing a new order, not by fighting in court (even though Trump famously tweeted "See you in court").
We had a court that gave us what I consider to be, with great respect, a very bad decision. Very bad for the safety and security of our country. The rollout was perfect....The rollout was not perfect. The order should have been clear that it didn't cover persons with a green card. It should have originally been written in the form that they're going to have for the new order. You know, "perfect" is such a strong word. Why say "perfect"?! It's as if he wants to get caught in inaccuracies. Maybe that's some art-of-the-deal trick. Say some things that are just plain wrong — a shiny object to distract the haters. For the Trumpsters, so what? It's not perfect, but it's still pretty good.
Another questioner gets back to a Russia question: "Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?" Trump is brusque:
TRUMP: How many times do I have to answer this question?He used that "Russia is a ruse" joke 2 more times. And insulted the reporter as having asked a question just to "get up and ask a question." He's very loose at this point, as noted above, and he's gone on for over an hour. He asks them about the time (sort of implying that he could go on until they can't take it anymore (he's having fun, remember)):
QUESTION: Can you just say yes or no?
TRUMP: Russia is a ruse. I know you have to get up and ask a question. It’s so important. Russia is a ruse....
TRUMP: How much longer should we stay here, folks?Uh oh. If you're asking now, you're promising to be friendly, and he will be the judge.
QUESTION: Mr. President...
TRUMP: Five more minutes. Is that OK? Five?
QUESTION: Mr. President, on national...
TRUMP: Wait. Let’s see. Who’s — I want to find a friendly reporter.
QUESTION: Mr....Wow. But what was the question? We didn't hear. Apparently, it did not meet his standard of friendly.
TRUMP: Are you a friendly reporter? Watch how friendly he is. Wait. Wait. Watch how friendly he is. Go ahead.
TRUMP: Go ahead.
QUESTION: So first of all, my name is (Inaudible) from (Inaudible) Magazine. I (inaudible). I haven’t seen anybody in my community, including yourself or any of the — anyone on your staff of being (OFF-MIKE). Because (OFF-MIKE). However, what we’ve already heard about and what we (OFF-MIKE) is (OFF-MIKE) so you’re general forecast (ph) like 48 (OFF-MIKE). There are people who are everything (ph) happens through their packs (ph) is one of the (OFF-MIKE)...
TRUMP:...he said he was gonna ask a very simple, easy question. And it’s not, its not, not — not a simple question, not a fair question. OK sit down, I understand the rest of your question. So here’s the story, folks. Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican — quiet, quiet, quiet. See, he lied about — he was gonna get up and ask a very straight, simple question, so you know, welcome to the world of the media. But let me just tell you something, that I hate the charge, I find it repulsive.... See, it just shows you about the press, but that’s the way the press is.
He takes another question:
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. Lisa [Desjardins] from the PBS News Hour. On national security and immigration, can you give us more details on the executive order you plan for next week?... And in addition, on the DACA program for immigration.... What is your plan, do you plan to continue that program or to end it?It's as if it's not his choice. He has to get the law — whatever's on the books — enforced. Obama didn't. But Trump is a law-enforcer. However much it may hurt his heart. But please know he's got a heart.
TRUMP: We’re gonna show great heart, DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, I will tell you. To me, it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids. In many cases, not in all cases. And some of the cases, having DACA and they’re gang members and they’re drug dealers, too. But you have some absolutely, incredible kids, I would say mostly. They were brought here in such a way — it’s a very — it’s a very, very tough subject. We’re gonna deal with DACA with heart. I have to deal with a lot of politicians, don’t forget and I have to convince them that what I’m saying is — is right. And I appreciate your understanding on that. 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. I’m not talking about new laws, I’m talking the existing law, is very rough, it’s very, very rough....
He gets a question he proclaims truly "nice." Talk about Melania. He asks the questioner "who are you with?" and says "Good, I’m gonna start watching, all right?" He talks about Melania for a while, and he could end there, on a cozy note, but he takes another question. It's about the inner cities:
QUESTION: Mr. President, I need to find out from you, you said something as it relates to inner cities. That was one of your platforms during your campaign. Now you’re —He pats the reporter on the head and the reporter accepts it. See? Reporters can be tamed. He just tamed one. I won't copy all of what Trump said here, but here's some of it:
TRUMP: Fix the inner cities.
QUESTION: — president. Fixing the inner cities.
QUESTION: What will be that fix and your urban agenda as well as your HBCU Executive Order that’s coming out this afternoon? See, it wasn’t bad, was it?
TRUMP: That was very professional and very good.
QUESTION: I’m very professional.
So, we are going to be working very hard on the inner cities, having to do with education, having to do with crime. We’re going to try and fix as quickly as possible — you know, it takes a long time. It’s taken more a hundred years and more for some of these places to evolve and they evolved, many of them, very badly.... You go to some of these inner city places and it’s so sad when you look at the crime. You have people — and I’ve seen this, and I’ve sort of witnessed it — in fact, in two cases I have actually witnessed it. They lock themselves into apartments, petrified to even leave, in the middle of the day. They’re living in hell. We can’t let that happen. So, we’re going to be very, very strong. That’s a great question and — and it’s a — it’s a very difficult situation because it’s been many, many years. It’s been festering for many, many years. But we have places in this country that we have to fix. We have to help African American people that, for the most part, are stuck there...The questioner asked if he was going to include the Congressional Black Caucus, and Trump invited the questioner to set up the meeting, which seemed odd at first, but after some back and forth, he said:
TRUMP: I would love to meet with the Black Caucus. I think it’s great, the Congressional Black Caucus. I think it’s great. I actually thought I had a meeting with Congressman Cummings and he was all excited. And then he said, well, I can’t move, it might be bad for me politically. I can’t have that meeting. I was all set to have the meeting. You know, we called him and called him. And he was all set. I spoke to him on the phone, very nice guy.Wow. That to me was the biggest news of the press conference. Cummings can't meet with the President? People are controlling him?
QUESTION: I hear he wanted that meeting with you as well.I'd like to hear what Schumer and Cummings have to say about that. Is the tone so hateful because those who want a friendlier tone are bullied?
TRUMP: He wanted it, but we called, called, called and can’t make a meeting with him. Every day I walk and say I would like to meet with him because I do want to solve the problem. But he probably was told by Schumer or somebody like that, some other lightweight. He was probably told - he was probably told “don’t meet with Trump. It’s bad politics.” And that’s part of the problem in this country.
There's another question, partly inaudible, that seems to be about some horrible racist things written or done "by supporters in your name." Trump jumps on a false flag interpretation:
TRUMP: ...And some of it - can I be honest with you? And this has to do with racism and horrible things that are put up. Some of it written by our opponents. You do know that. Do you understand that?...The last question is: "You’re the president now. What are you going to do about it?" Clarification is sought and it seems to be about bringing the country together. Trump's answer is basically that the country was divided when he got here. It's "a divided nation." But: "I am going to try - I will do everything within my power to fix that." And on that note, he closed it down.