Donald Trump Praises & Bashes Media At First Press Conference Since July


UPDATED with CNN statement: “I have great respect for the news, great respect for freedom of the press and all that,” Donald Trump said today in his first full press conference in more than five months as controversy about Russia’s role in hacking last year’s American election swirled anew. While the President-elect praised Marvel’s CEO today, he certainly had no respect for CNN – calling them “a terrible organization.”

Originally scheduled for last month and starting about 15 minutes late, today’s nearly hourlong presser was supposed to center on Trump’s plan to divest himself from his business interests before taking office. But, as seems to always be the case with the author of The Art of the Deal, other matters have grabbed the spotlight.

“It’s very familiar territory to give news conferences, I think we maybe won the nomination because of news conferences,” the former Celebrity Apprentice host said right at the top of the presser. “We stopped giving them because we were getting inaccurate news.”


Thanking the media who didn’t run the story that Buzzfeed broke yesterday about Russia having potentially damaging information on him, Trump said that it would be “a tremendous blot” on the intelligence agencies if it turned out that they leaked the material — a theme he returned to many times. Trump later took aim directly at CNN for its reports on the matter and refused to take a question from the cable newser. “I’m not going to give you a question,” he told CNN’s Jim Acosta, who repeatedly tried to ask one. “You are fake news.” Watch a clip of their exchange below.

About 15 minutes after the news conference ended, The Lead anchor Jake Tapper read a statement from CNN on the air:

“CNN’s decision to publish carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government is vastly different than Buzzfeed’s decision to publish unsubstantiaed memos. The Trump team knows this. They are using Buzzfeed’s decision t deflect from CNN’s reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organizations. It represents the core of what the First Amendment protexts, informing the people of the inner workings of their government; in this case, briefing materials prepared for President Obama and President-elect Trump last week. We made it clear that we were not publishing any of the details of the 35-page document because we have not corroborated the report’s allegations. Given that members of the Trump transition team have so vocally criticized our reporting, we encourage them to identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate.”

Hollywood got a shout-out early on in the press conference on Wednesday. In his opening statement, Trump called Marvel CEO and longtime supporter Ike Perlmutter “one of the great men of business,” while noting his involvement with improving the lot of veterans. Perlmutter reportedly will serve as an adviser to the Trump administration on veterans’ healthcare.

Trump also announced Wednesday — just nine days before he’s set to take office — that his two adult sons and an longtime adviser will take over the running of his companies in a trust for his time in office. He also reiterated he has no plans to release his tax returns.

The gathering at NYC’s Trump Tower came as ex-ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, the President-elect’s choice for Secretary of State, began his confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill.

“As president, I could run the Trump Organization — great great company — and I could run the country and I’d do a very good job,” the ex-reality TV frontman told the media. “I don’t like the way that looks.”

Earlier in the morning, the social media-loving PEOUTS responded more caustically on Twitter to reports that emerged late Tuesday claiming that both President Obama and Trump recently were made aware by the intelligence community that operatives of the Russian government have “compromising personal and financial information” about the PEOTUS.

In his first significant talk with the assembled media since July — when he said that Russia should hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, after seemingly repeatedly have digitally broken in to her campaign — Trump started his remarks with a bullet-point listing of plans and accomplishments, as well as an announcement of who his Secretary of Veterans Affairs nominee will be.

Playing the media, as he has done so many times in the past, Trump turned parts of the presser into a dispute about his adversaries. “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset not a liability,” the PEOTUS told reporters before again claiming the Obama administration was responsible for the creation of ISIS and asking if Clinton would be tougher with Russia than him.

“I think it was Russia,” Trump conceded of the hacking of the DNC, the Clinton campaign and others during the election, “but I think we also get hacked by other counties and people.” He added, “We have much hacking going on. … Hacking is bad and it shouldn’t be done.”

Here is the exchange between Trump and CNN’s Acosta:

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