President Donald Trump held a press conference Feb. 16 in which he named Alexander Acosta as his new nominee for labor secretary and reported the progress his administration had made so far. Trump then attacked the news media, once again, for their “dishonest” portrayal of his presidency.
Trump asserted that he “inherited a mess” of domestic and international issues when he took office, such as companies moving abroad and firing American workers and the growing international presence of ISIS, but promised he would be able to fix the nation’s problems.
He also defended his recently overturned executive order on immigration, claiming that a “bad court” and a “bad decision” were the only hiccups in the rollout of the travel ban. Trump told reporters that he would soon sign a new executive order that would adhere to the court’s ruling while still instituting the major provisions of his travel ban.
Later in the press conference, Trump pivoted on his stance toward leaks of classified information. After supporting leaks of Hillary Clinton’s private emails during the presidential campaign, Trump is now condemning intelligence leaks, pointing out that they could be detrimental if the leaks dealt with issues of national security.
These leaks have already led to the resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn earlier this month.
Most of Trump’s quarrels with the media about being “dishonest” and “fake” have lost their surprise factor at this point. On the other hand, his appearance of being out-of-touch with reality was alarming.
For instance, when an African American reporter asked whether Trump was planning to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to discuss plans for helping the inner cities, Trump facetiously answered that he would if the reporter would “set up the meeting.” This answer angered many people who felt Trump believed the reporter knew members of the CBC because she was also black.
Then when asked to condemn anti-Semitic and racist acts across the country, Trump replied with hyperboles that he was the “least anti-Semitic” and “least racist” person.
Moreover, when a reporter challenged Trump on his false claim that his electoral victory was the greatest margin in the Electoral College since Ronald Reagan’s reelection in 1984, Trump defended that he was “given that information.”
Trump did not answer the reporter’s question of why Americans should trust his claims that the media is reporting “fake news” when the president’s own information is “fake.”
This question illustrates many Americans’ frustration with Trump. Rather than giving the public—especially those who did not vote for him—more reasons to trust him, he has supplied ample evidence of his lack of composure and qualifications for his job.
By going to such great lengths to improve his public image and attack the media, Trump has abandoned a campaign promise. He is now putting America second, Trump first.