President Trump gave a wide-ranging 77-minute press conference on Thursday
In a hastily arranged press conference, President Trump has struck out at the media, and defended his administration in a fashion that has been described as bizarre.
Here are six of the most extraordinary moments:
My favourite extract from Trump's press conference. I have read it many times. I may get it as a tattoo. pic.twitter.com/5MPAtbFb9C— Dara Ó Briain (@daraobriain) 16 février 2017
Administration running like a fine-tuned machine:
Trump claimed that reports of “chaos” in his White House are false, and his month-old administration is in fact “The exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite the fact that I can’t get my cabinet approved”.
So bizarre was the presser that it has spawned #trumpresser –
I've found #Trump's fine tuned machine. #TrumpPressConference#Trumpresserpic.twitter.com/g3XYOJyPTE— Merryn Porter (@Merryn_Porter) 16 février 2017
Trump’s attempt at defending his short record was perhaps prompted by Democrats in Congress attempting to delay and dissuade the confirmation of Trump’s Cabinet picks.
But most of these selections have made it through the committee and full congressional votes, including the divisive nominees for the Education department and Attorney General, Betsy DeVos and Jefferson Sessions.
Just hours after the conference Trump’s pick to replace national security advisor Flynn turned the job down.
“Russia is fake news”:
It has been reported that Trump aides have had contact with Russian intelligence services during and after the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump denied this, stating simply that such reports are “fake news put out by the media”, and “the Russia (allegation) is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia”.
The President added that the continued scrutiny of his apparent relationship with Russia may damage future negotiations with Russia and President Putin.
Leaks are real, reports of leaks are fake:
When addressing the intelligence leaks that led to Michael Flynn’s exit, Trump agreed with their validity but accused the news media of false reporting on the incident.
Trump said: “The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake”.
What Trump means by this is unclear, but it is certainly part of a continued tirade against what he refers to as the “dishonest media”.
At one point, he suggested that reports on the press conference would say “Donald Trump rants and raves at the press”, adding “I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you… you’re dishonest people”.
In response to Trump’s opposition to media reports, Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in New Zealand: “A very great politician, Winston Churchill, once said that politicians complaining about the newspapers is like a sailor complaining about the sea”.
Turnbull and Trump’s relationship is off to a rocky start, and doesn’t look to be improving with a leaked phone call between the pair being described as unimportant.
“Inherited a mess”:
It is not uncommon for governments to blame problems on their predecessors and Trump has blamed President Obama for “Low pay, low wages, mass instability abroad”.
However, the figures do not align with Trump’s assessment.
In comparison to the situation President Obama inherited, unemployment is lower, the US stock market is experiencing all-time highs and ISIL began losing ground in Iraq, Syria and Libya before Trump took office.
Trump added that “There has never been a presidency that has done so much in such a short period of time”, a statement Franklin Delano Roosevelt may contest if he were still alive. Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. says FDR’s first 100 days were “unlike anything known to American history” due to the huge range of actions taken.
“Set up a meeting”:
April Ryan, who is black, asked Trump if he would meet with the Congressional Black Caucus, (a group of black Senators and Representatives), to discuss the inner-city problems he has described as hell.
Trump responded by asking Ryan: “Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?”
Ryan said she is “just a reporter”, but Trump was not dissuaded, replying “Well, then set up the meeting”.
Maybe Trump thought April Ryan was his black staff person Omarosa. pic.twitter.com/plNXrkeiP1— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 16, 2017
Representative Elijah Cummings, who Trump took a swipe at, later reacted by saying “a lot of people assume that all black people know all black people”.
Rep. Elijah Cummings on Trump's remarks about
AprilDRyan</a> & the CBC: "A lot of people assume that all black people know all black people." <a href="https://t.co/SnN3y8dTo9">pic.twitter.com/SnN3y8dTo9</a></p>— Kyle Griffin (kylegriffin1) February 17, 2017
Here’s the whole clip, including the part you edited out because it doesn’t fit your narrative.— Michael Lunsford (@michaellunsford) 16 février 2017
kylegriffin1</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/michaeldambold">michaeldamboldpic.twitter.com/pplCTzJRwk
Finally, Trump was asked about uranium, the element often used in nuclear power production and nuclear weapons.
His response has been widely shared on social media.
“Lots of things are done with uranium, including some bad things”
POTUS</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Trump?src=hash">#Trump</a> says at news conference <a href="https://t.co/HsUk5LHG17">pic.twitter.com/HsUk5LHG17</a></p>— Sky News (SkyNews) February 16, 2017
“You know what uranium is, right? It’s a thing called nuclear weapons and other things… like lots of things are done with uranium. Including some bad things. Nobody talks about that”.
Up until an hour ago, the scariest thing I'd ever watched was Psycho. #TrumpPresser— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) 16 février 2017