- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017


President Donald Trump is his own best advocate.

It’s no question that his presidency has been under siege by the liberal media, who have printed reports this week advancing the narrative that his administration is in bed with the Russians. They’ve also complained they’re being ignored, with Mr. Trump only calling on conservative-leaning organizations at his press conferences, and thereby avoiding tough questions.

Not Thursday. Mr. Trump took them head-on. And won.

He answered every question — from every news outlet — in a freewheeling press conference that lasted a whopping 77 minutes.

Did Mr. Trump know if anyone on his team was in contact with Russian officials during or after the election?

Other than retired Gen. Michael Flynn, no.

Why was Mr. Flynn fired?

Because he misrepresented his calls to Vice President Mike Pence, then blamed a faulty memory on the lapse. The excuse didn’t cut it with Mr. Trump.

Is the Trump administration working on tax reform and an Obamacare repeal?

Yes, expect both to come in early March.

Will a new immigration executive order be issued to replace the one held up in the courts?

Yes, it will be out next week.

Mr. Trump had no trouble putting the mainstream media in their place, and highlighting the positive stories they refuse to cover — the surging stock market, and his regulatory executive actions.

“I’m here today to update the American people on the incredible progress that has been made in the last four weeks since my inauguration. We have made incredible progress. I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done,” Mr. Trump said. “Much of the media doesn’t get it. They actually get it, but they don’t write it. Let’s put it that way.”

He continued: “I turn on the TV, open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos. Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite the fact that I can’t get my Cabinet approved.”

He called out CNN for its “very fake news” but did allow reporter Jim Acosta several questions.

Washington pundits, who didn’t care for Mr. Trump’s off-the-cuff style on the campaign trail, still don’t. And they don’t understand his press conference was a wild success for those watching in Middle America.

All they can focus on is themselves — and how poorly Mr. Trump is treating them.

NBC’s Chuck Todd tweeted: “This is not a laughing matter. I’m sorry delegitimizing the press is un-American.”

Mr. Todd has failed to realize the press has delegitimized itself with more than eight years fawning over President Barack Obama, and then failing to capture the real story on the 2016 campaign trail — the forgotten man who Mr. Trump resonated with.

CNN’s Jake Tapper wasn’t much better, declaring on-air that Mr. Trump’s presser was “unhinged” and “wild.”

“A lot of Americans are going to watch that and think: ‘That guy is not focused on me. I don’t know what he’s focused on,’” Mr. Tapper concluded.

Yet, that wasn’t the message Salena Zito — who has accurately reported throughout the heartland extensively during Mr. Trump’s campaign — was hearing from workers in the middle of Pennsylvania.

“Listening to DJT press conf., in middle of PA and watching press on my twitter is like parallel universe — people think he is doing well,” she tweeted.

The same goes for Trump voters on my feed.

“[Trump] did not cower before the press or act apologetic,” wrote Cheryl B on Twitter. “He stood there and took their questions. Answers were authentic Trump.”

A twitter user with the handle KeepCalmandDrawl penned: “The public loves this. Until you guys [media] deal with how badly you’ve betrayed public trust, you’ll continue to lose.”

And they will.

The media begged for a press conference and got one. Mr. Trump came off as strong and in authority. The press didn’t like it. Who cares? I’m betting the public did, and that’s all that matters.

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