In his first live press conference since July, and first since becoming the president-elect, Donald Trump has confirmed to the public that the same Trump we got on the campaign trail will be the same Trump we see as president -- at least in the way that he interacts with the media.
The press was very eager to squeeze in as many questions as possible in this rare opportunity. What began as a civil exchange in which Trump remained fairly consistent with his major policy positions, quickly devolved into a battle between the president-elect and the media.
The press conference was a couple of acrobats and a unicycle-riding clown short of an all out circus, in which Trump lambasted various media outlets and reporters shouted and interrupted others to ask questions.
Things began heating up when the subject of Trump’s tax returns was raised. One reporter cited the precedent of presidents releasing their tax returns and prodded Trump as to why he has not released his own.
Trump reiterated the oft heard claim that he cannot release his tax returns because “as you know, they're under audit.” An argument ensued in which Trump claims that only the reporters care about his tax returns, not the American people -- his victory used as evidence of this.
Tensions rose yet again when one reporter asked about the “border fence” to which Trump responded, “On the fence, it’s not a fence it’s a wall. You just misreported it.”
The situation devolved from there as Trump later referred to BuzzFeed as “a failing pile of garbage” and included CNN in reporting unconfirmed stories. This prompted a hostile exchange between CNN reporter Jim Acosta and the president-elect.
Acosta shouted from the crowd that since his organization was being attacked, they should be granted a question. Trump attempted to move on to another reporter, when Acosta continued to shout at him. Trump said, “Not you, your organization is terrible.” Trump added that Acosta was “rude” and accused his organization of being “fake news.”
Asked about fake news and what reforms he would recommend to the industry, he responded:
“Well, I don't recommend reforms. I recommend people that are -- that have some moral compass.” He proceeded to call out those in the room as being some of the dishonest media he was referring to.
Trump closed with a statement on his lack of current and future involvement in his companies during his presidency, and of his two sons who will take control while he is in office. He hopes to see that they perform well, “Otherwise, if they do a bad job, I'll say, ‘You're fired.’"