Donald Trump threatened to get rid of the daily White House press briefing, but then boasted to Fox News Channel’s Jeanine Pirro in an interview that the briefings are the highest-rated thing in daytime TV. He also took credit for the numbers, making his cancellation threat sound more like gas-baggery. And, since the interview that aired tonight on FNC was taped earlier in the week, The New York Times has reported Trump is mulling whether to beef up his communications department and bring in Fox News producers.
In the Q&A that aired tonight, Trump clearly was miffed his reps took heat at the week’s briefings for initially saying Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. When that did not pass the smell test, a new explanation was offered: Trump decided in January to fire Comey and there was no good time.
“Are you moving so quickly that your communications department cannot keep up with you?” Pirro suggested in the taped interview.
“Yes, that’s true,” Trump said.
“So what do we do about that?” Pirro asked.
“We don’t have press conferences… just don’t have them. Unless I have them every two weeks and I do them myself, we don’t have them. I think it’s a good idea,” he said. Trump said he would make up his mind whether to scrap the briefings “over the next couple weeks.” He happily forecast the networks would be “very unhappy, because ratings are so high. I don’t know what these networks would do, they’re going to start to cry. They get great ratings from me, and yet they don’t treat us fairly.”
Trump defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and deputy Sarah Huckabee Sanders who took over the briefings in the thick of the Comey canning controversy while Spicer was on reserve duty. But, Trump said, they can’t keep up with him.
“Here’s the thing, the difference between me and another president,” Trump explained. “Another president, I won’t use names, but another president doesn’t do what I’m doing – they really don’t. I’m not saying that in a bragging way. …Another president, Jeanine, will sit in the Oval Office and do practically nothing all day. I’m doing – every minute of the day I’m doing something.”