…to paraphrase the late Lou Reed.
If you feel dizzy and somewhat nauseated right now but you just watched the Trump press conference, don’t bother calling the doctor. He’ll only ask you if you just watched the Trump press conference and tell you to rest for a minute until the equilibrium returns.
Maybe two minutes. An hour, tops.
But if you’re feeling vertigo, how about a sympathy shout-out for the reporters who (1) fought to get cogent answers and (2) tried to keep this child on topic. And let’s also remember in our thoughts and prayers CNN correspondent Jim Acosta whose network now resides next to Buzzfeed on one of Trump’s many blacklists. Several times Trump refused to recognize the man when he tried to defend his network against fake news allegations.
Trump railing against fake news. What planet is this?
Unfortunately that Buzzfeed release, salacious but unsubstantiated, provided Trump with a convenient whipping boy, and though it may have been unintentional, played into Trump’s fear of and disdain for the media. It allowed him to control the press conference as if it were a boxing match: he always had a corner to return to (the lying media) when things became uncomfortable.
Of course this was after opening comic Sean Spicer warmed up the audience with his attack on (again) “that left-wing blog” Buzzfeed. The next comedy set went to Mike Pence, who echoed Spicer’s criticisms and promised that today we would get back to real news. But he also said, “I can assure the American people that [Trump’s] energy and his vision during the course of this transition has been even more inspiring” and that kind of diluted any confidence I had in his wisdom or sanity.
Trump himself seemed intent on presenting a moving target, like a kindergartner trying to sit still but not having that self-discipline just yet. The worst part of it all—if there can be a worse part to something so uniformly bad—is that Trump is still campaigning…about the wall, about Obamacare, about foreign jobs, about the media. For a guy who won the election but has seen his popularity plummet to 37%, shouldn’t he realize it’s time to be presidential? to stop fighting wars already won? (Yes, you could say the same about me, but I’m not the president and I didn’t promise to answer questions and clarify positions this morning. Though I would. And I could.)
If there’s any takeaway from this it’s that reporters are going to have to hack away at him—that every time he tries to change the subject (today it was from Russia to China) someone needs to get him back on topic, to drill a little deeper. Hack away and drill deeper—I didn’t think I’d be using phrases like that to describe dealings with a president-elect, even a minority president-elect. I’m sure most reporters didn’t think so either.