The president spoke to and took questions from reporters at the White House for more than an hour, Feb. 16. Here are key moments from that event. (Video: Sarah Parnass/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Many people are saying that President Trump’s raw and emotional 77-minute news conference Thursday was a disaster — a display of id totally unshackled from political strategy.
Donald Trump is not one of those people. For Trump, the news conference was a major triumph and a big part of the reason he loves both politics and being president. For more than an hour, Trump talked up his accomplishments, mocked reporters and, generally, acted like the ringmaster of the greatest show on earth. And he loved every second of it.
Need evidence? Just listen to Trump himself.
“I’ll be honest, because I sort of enjoy this back and forth that I guess I have all my life,” Trump said on Thursday, a remarkably candid assessment of his lifelong commitment to the joust, the back and forth between the media and celebrities/politicians.
His life is a testament to just how much he revels in it. Remember that this is the man who made up a young PR executive named John Barron to tout Donald Trump’s eligibility as a bachelor. Someone who has confessed that the New York Post is the newspaper he reads first. Someone who has built a career on being talked about, being in the middle of things. Trump understands (and has always understood) that there is a symbiotic relationship between himself and the media; that, sure, he needs them but they need him — someone willing to be relentlessly, inescapably watchable — even more.
Writing about the news conference, WaPo’s Phil Rucker put it well:
But the president also put on a show. He bantered and cajoled. He was playful, even. He waved away tough questions (“The whole Russian thing, that’s a ruse”) and cried out for “friendly” ones, congratulating a reporter who…