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Trump’s ‘alternative reality’ news conference ‘amazing moment’: US media

President Donald Trump’s first 77-minute media interaction has already become the stuff of legend, with some in the US media describing it as an “alternative reality press conference”.

world Updated: Feb 17, 2017 17:30 IST
HT Correspondent
US President Donald Trump speaks during his first press conference at the White House in Washington on February 16, 2017.
US President Donald Trump speaks during his first press conference at the White House in Washington on February 16, 2017.(AFP)

US President Donald Trump’s first news conference has been described by the media as an “amazing moment in history” and proof that he “will never be presidential”.

Over 77 minutes, Trump mounted a defence of his chaotic administration that has been hit by repeated leaks of internal tensions and repeatedly attacked the press for being “dishonest”.

But within hours, one of the most widely shared moments from the event was the footage of NBC reporter Peter Alexander fact-checking Trump on his incorrect claim of having the largest electoral college margins in recent US elections.

Watch | NBC reporter Peter Alexander confront President Donald Trump over his credibility

Alexander confronted the president over his credibility. “You said today that you had the biggest electoral margin since Ronald Reagan,” Alexander said, reeling off names of presidents such as Obama who had won by larger margins.

“Why should Americans trust you?” Alexander asked. Trump replied he had been “given” the information about his electoral victory.

But Alexander insisted: “Why should Americans trust you when you accuse the information they receive as being fake when you’re providing information that’s fake?”

“I don’t know,” was the response from a clearly flummoxed Trump. “I was given that information.”

CNN referred to the news conference as an “amazing moment in history”. It said: “Trump held court during a news conference that lasted an hour and fifteen minutes, carving out a stunning moment in modern American political history. He displayed a sense of anger and grievance rarely vented by a President in public – let alone one who has been in office for just four weeks.”

The Guardian reported that the news conference was proof that Trump would “never be presidential”. It said: “It was an exhausting 77-minute extravaganza, and any five-minute segment would have been enough to make front-page headlines around the world.”

In a piece titled “Donald Trump’s alternative-reality press conference”, The New Yorker referred to the president’s defence of his administration and said: “What Trump has actually done, of course, is demonstrate his manifest unsuitability for the job he now holds.”

It added, “For more than hour on Thursday, he stood at a White House lectern, the yellowness of his hair accentuated by the gold drapes hanging behind him, and demonstrated, again, that he long ago escaped the bounds of reality that restrict most mortals.”

Comics who host popular late night shows, the Chicago Tribune said, had all agreed that Trump’s first solo news conference “was a spectacle worthy of much comment”.

“Historically bizarre,” said James Corden, the Britain-born host of The Late Late Show said. “I mean, it was bizarre even by Trump standards.”

“Hurricane Trump happened. Again,” said Trevor Noah, the South African comedian who hosts The Daily Show.

“This was just him by himself,” said Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show. “Evidently he didn’t even bring his meds with him.”

Even anchor Shep Smith of Fox News, a channel that has been praised by Trump, ripped into the president while defending a CNN reporter who was derided by Trump. “It’s crazy what we’re watching every day. It’s absolutely crazy. He keeps repeating ridiculous, throwaway lines that are not true at all,” Smith said.

Watch | Fox News anchor Shep Smith rips into President Donald Trump after his press conference