Trump gave his first formal press conference in 167 days from Trump Tower Wednesday, one day after unsubstantiated allegations that Russia possessed "personal and financial" information on him gripped headlines. Ahead of the presser, Trump characterized the story—which was widely circulated by a variety of outlets—as "fake news" on Twitter. He also asked if we were currently living in Nazi Germany:
Ahead of the conference, staffers brought out "hundreds of folders" and placed them on a table near the podium:
After Trump's team criticized the BuzzFeed and CNN stories Trump had previously tweeted about as "false," Mike Pence offered some brief comments. "I can assure the America people that his energy and his vision during the course of this transition has been inspiring," Pence said. Pence also took his own jabs at the Russian ties allegations.
"I think we probably maybe won the nomination because of news conferences," Trump claimed when finally taking the podium 20 minutes after the scheduled start time. Trump again used the "fake news" criticism, subsequently adding that he had "great respect" for "freedom of the press and all that."
Speaking on something called a "great spirit," Trump said his "movement" is still going strong. "It's a movement like the world has never seen before," Trump claimed. "It's a movement that a lot of people didn't expect. Even the polls, although some of them did get it right… That was a beautiful scene on Nov. 8 as those states started to pour in. We worked very hard in those states and they really reciprocated."
After a really long run-on sentence, Trump was asked about Putin. "If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability," Trump said, referring to himself. Seemingly referencing the claims that potentially compromising footage of him existed, Trump told the nation that cameras were everywhere. As for those golden shower allegations, Trump said he's too much of a "germophobe" for that sort of thing.
But, um, about the "germophobe" thing:
Trump, addressing the possibility of releasing his tax returns, decided to speak on behalf of the entire country by claiming the only people who care about their release "are the reporters."
Just minutes after claiming he turned down a $2 billion deal in Dubai, Trump brought up a lawyer to explain his plans to hand over control of his business to his sons, which is—as quickly pointed on Twitter—not exactly a "blind" trust:
When returning to the podium, Trump used the word "brilliant," like, 5 times when talking about Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and Rex Tillerson. Then a reporter asked Trump about the status of the Affordable Care Act, to which Trump offered: "Obamacare is a complete and total disaster," he said. A repeal-and-replace plan, Trump promised, will be presented at some point. Specific details were not revealed.
Trump's "wall" along the Mexican border, of course, was also discussed. "It will happen," Trump said. "So, remember this okay? I will say 'We are going to build a wall!' and people would go crazy." Trump also boasted about the size of his crowds and their penchant for chanting stuff about walls and Mexico.
Raising his voice, Trump again addressed the BuzzFeed story and attacked the publication by calling it a "failing pile of garbage." He then refused a question from CNN's Jim Acosta, calling him—a person, not a news outlet—"fake news."
Trump, a former reality TV host, finally closed out the press conference by abruptly inserting his "You're fired!" catchphrase from The Apprentice into a reiteration of his decision to place his sons in charge of business activities.
On a related note, BuzzFeed took a crafty approach to monetizing Trump's
dig shout-out during the press conference.
From Donald Trump's lips to Buzzfeed's store, in 5 hours. pic.twitter.com/wY6BXqasiw— Jonathan Kay (@jonkay) January 11, 2017