Trump’s most extraordinary news conference
Today totally typified the unexpected and unpredictable nature of covering the 45th president of the United States.
I was at home, working on a book I am trying to finish when there was a flash on the TV: Donald Trump to hold unscheduled news conference in an hour’s time.
I legged it down to the White House, and on a cold Washington morning waited outside the East Wing for 45 minutes until the Secret Service let us in.
I knew if I was to get a question in I would need to be near the front.
For half an hour the president berated us.
Never had there been a more dishonest group of people.
We were out of control. Wild. Feral. Not to be trusted.
And then it was questions.
He called various journalists he knew.
Then I managed to catch his eye.
And this is what followed:
Me: Could I just ask you, thank you very much, Mr President. The trouble…
President Trump: Where are you from?
President Trump: Here’s another beauty.
Me: That’s a good line. Impartial, free and fair.
President Trump: Yeah. Sure.
Me: Mr President…
President Trump: Just like CNN right?
Me: 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…
President Trump: Yeah, I do. I do. Let me tell you about this government…
Me: Were there any mistakes…
President 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…
It was quite the most extraordinary news conference I have attended.
As I say, everything about reporting on this presidency is unexpected and unpredictable.
He is angry at times, proud of what he’s achieving, furious that he’s not getting the recognition he feels he deserves, obsessed by the polls, obsessed by the size of his crowd.
And here’s my one curious takeaway.
The media that he professes to hate and despise he seems to spend an awful lot of time watching.
You wonder, when does he find time to govern?