“Wow, what an amazing an hour-and-15-minute briefing by the president of the United States,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said moments after Donald Trump walked off the stage at his most contentious press conference to date.
While the event was designed to introduce Alexander Acosta, his new labor secretary nominee, Jake Tapper noted that Trump talked more about CNN’s Jim Acosta (no relation) than he did his newest Cabinet pick. Instead of focusing on his “accomplishments” and “offering an optimistic, positive” view for the country, Tapper said, the whole conference felt like the “airing of grievances” from Seinfeld’s Festivus.
“At one point he said the leaks are real, but the news is fake, which doesn’t make any sense whatsoever,” Tapper added. Trump was also corrected by NBC News’ Peter Alexander when he falsely claimed he had the largest electoral vote margin since Ronald Reagan.
“If you are a soldier in harm's way right now, if you are a hungry child in Appalachia or the inner city, if you are an unemployed worker in the hollow shell of a steel town, that's not a president who seemed rather focused on your particular needs and wants,” Tapper said. “That's a president focused on bad press.”
“It was unhinged, it was wild,” he continued, “and I can't believe there are Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House that don't understand that might play well with the 44% of the population that voted for the president, but a lot of American are going to watch that press conference and say ‘That guy isn't focused on me, I don't even know what he's focused on.’”
During the press conference, Trump admitted that he watches CNN, singling out anchor Don Lemon without directly using his name, even though he considers the network to be “fake news.”
With that in mind, Tapper directed a message directly at the president, who he said is still “fixated on whether or not he legitimately won the presidency.”
“President Trump, if you're watching, you legitimately won the presidency,” Tapper told him. “Now get to work and stop whining about it.”
Meanwhile, on Fox News, all anchor Melissa Francis could muster when her network cut away from the event was: “Alrighty then, that was some press conference.”