Incoming President Donald Trump gave his first official press conference on January 11 to gathered members of the media in New York. The day prior to the press conference, popular website Buzzfeed ran an utterly baseless story on Trump that was picked up by CNN.
The unverified story was supposedly based on a “dossier” from a former member of British intelligence and claimed that Trump had hired prostitutes when he was in Moscow staying at the Ritz Carlton hotel and that they performed “perverted sexual acts” in front of him. The dossier included mentions of Trump’s counsel Michael Cohen — who it claimed met “Kremlin officials” while he was in Prague — and Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page.
Trump’s House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denounced the report as “outrageous” and “irresponsible” journalism and said that Carter Page had worked for Trump’s presidential campaign, but Trump had never had any interactions with him.
Additionally, Spicer said that when Buzzfeed ran its story, Trump asked Michael Cohen to come to his office at the Trump Organization with his passport. As it turns out, Cohen has never been to Prague in his life; at the time that Buzzfeed said the events in question occurred, Cohen was in Southern California watching a baseball game with his son.
Spicer mentioned the above articles and said that Buzzfeed’s own editors had admitted there was reason to doubt the story. New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet had called the report “totally unsubstantiated” and did not promote it. Spicer called the articles “fake news,” a charge that was repeated by Trump later in the press conference.
Trump began the event by giving credit to the members of the media who don’t run fake news stories on a regular basis. Trump said that he likes the press overall and appreciates freedom of the press, despite the fact that some reporters are not always nice to him. Trump blasted the Buzzfeed article and thanked the members of the press that didn’t mention the story.
Switching back to “real news,” Trump began to answer questions from the press. The first question was regarding Russian hacking and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump referred to the Russian hacking story as “fake news.” Trump accused the Democratic National Committee (DNC) of having very poor computer security. Trump said that as opposed to the DNC, the Republican National Committee (RNC) had much better security and gave credit for that fact to his new chief of staff, former RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
Trump said that hackers had actually tried to break into the RNC’s computer networks, but failed. As proof, he said that if hackers had information from the RNC, they would have released it by now.
Regarding Putin, Trump said that if Putin likes him, he would look at their relationship as an asset, not a liability. Trump jokingly asked the press if they thought Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton would have been tougher on Putin than Trump will be as president.
Regarding the Buzzfeed story, Trump said he would never engage in such behavior and that furthermore, he believes that in today’s world, wherever important people go — especially in Russia — hidden video cameras are probably recording everything.
Trump reiterated he has no dealings with Russia, no loans with them and no pending business there. Trump said he has no plans to do business there because it would probably create a conflict of interest. Trump also claimed that he recently had a $2 billion offer to open businesses in Dubai, but he’d turned it down.
A reporter asked specifically about conflicts of interest arising from Trump’s many companies. Trump answered that if he wanted to, he could run his business, The Trump Organization, and be president at the same time, but that he’s choosing not to. Instead, Trump said that most of his companies will be turned over to his sons Eric and Donald, Jr. while he’s president. He joked that if they do a bad job, they’ll be fired.
A question was asked about Obamacare. Trump said a new health plan will be presented as soon as his new Secretary of Health and Human Services is confirmed. Trump said the replacement for Obamacare would make people “proud.”
He said the new plan will be better and far less expensive than the current program. Trump said that as it stands, Obamacare is imploding, with deductibles that are unaffordable and 100 percent increases scheduled for 2017 in some states.
Trump said that from a political perspective, it would be smart to simply let Obamacare fail on its own; this would cause people to rise up against the Democrats. But Trump said this wouldn’t be fair to the nation’s citizens; he said the Republicans are doing the Democrats a huge favor by acting quickly on Obamacare.
One of the final questions asked of Trump returned to the Buzzfeed article. Trump suspected that the story might have been the work of intelligence agencies and that it was “disgraceful” that “information that was false and fake was allowed out.” Trump said that this was something Nazi Germany would have done; he called Buzzfeed a “failing pile of garbage” and said that CNN went “out of their way to build [the story] up.”
A reporter from CNN then tried to ask a question. Trump refused to answer it, pointedly saying to him, “Your organization is terrible.” Unfazed, the reporter tried to ask his question anyway, but Trump wasn’t having it. “Not you!” he shouted over the reporter, attempting to answer a question from someone else.
“Quiet! She’s asking a question — don’t be rude! I am not going to give you a question — you are fake news.” This remark finally silenced the man, who likely was extremely embarrassed in front of his colleagues. Trump reiterated that some news outlets — who he said he wouldn’t name — published “fake news.” Whether this had a substantial impact on the assembled press is anyone’s guess.
The last question Trump answered related to government intelligence.
“Intelligence agencies are vital and very important,” Trump commented. But he also mentioned that details of confidential meetings he’s had with intelligence agencies thus far have somehow found their way into the media.
Trump promised there would be an official government report on Russian hacking in the next 90 days.
Regarding hacking, he said the U.S. is regularly hacked by “everybody,” including Russia and China. Trump claimed that if the U.S. government were an industry, it would be ranked last in terms of computer security protection. “Russia will have much greater respect for our country when I’m leading it than when others have led it,” Trump vowed.
Trump finished by joking about the red plastic “reset button” Hillary Clinton gave to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva when she attempted to renew the U.S.’s relationship with Russia in 2009. And with that humorous mention, the new president’s first press conference was concluded.
~ Conservative Zone