Donald Trump's first solo press conference: Here are the top 10 highlights

For its stunning moments and memorable one-liners, Donald Trump's first solo news conference as president has no rivals in recent memory. For all the trappings of the White House and traditions of the forum, his performance was one of a swaggering, blustery campaigner, armed with grievances and primed to unload on his favorite targets.

US President Donald Trump. Reuters

US President Donald Trump. Reuters

In nearly an hour and a half at the podium, Trump bullied reporters, dismissed facts and then cracked a few caustic jokes — a combination that once made the candidate irresistible cable TV fodder. Now in office, he went even further, blaming the media for all but sinking his not-yet-launched attempt to "make a deal" with Moscow.

That matters, Trump said in one of his many improvisational asides, because he'd been briefed and "I can tell you ... nuclear holocaust would be like no other."

This was his and his aides' attempt to get the boss his groove back. Trump used the event to try to claw his young administration back from the brink after a defeat in court and the forced resignation of his top national security adviser.

The hastily called news conference was not on the White House's original schedule for Thursday, and some of Trump's own aides were surprised when the president let slip at a morning meeting that he would hold the event in the East Room just hours later.

The performance was vintage Trump, a throwback to the messy, zinger-filled news conferences he held during the early stages of his campaign. And, when combined with a rally slated for Saturday in Florida, it appeared to be the start of a one-two punch meant to re-energize a president whose White House in recent days has been buffeted by crisis and paralyzed by dysfunction.

Critics of President Donald Trump saw in his Thursday news conference a combative, thin-skinned chief executive who continues to blame the media for the controversies roiling his administration.

His supporters saw something else: A champion of Middle America who is taking on the establishment and making good on his campaign promises to put the country first.

"I back him 100 percent," said the 42-year-old stay-at-home mom. "You either love it or get out, is my opinion."

The president of CNN said Thursday that neither the network's journalism or business have been hurt as a result of President Donald Trump's attacks.

Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, spoke Thursday at the same time Trump was holding a news conference in Washington in which he continued his barrage against media coverage of the administration.

Zucker said he was worried enough about Trump's labeling of CNN as "fake news" through the campaign and after that he ordered a study last month to see if it had damaged the network's reputation with viewers. He said it hadn't. Less than a third —or 31 percent — of 2,000 Americans surveyed said they believed CNN's coverage of Trump had been unfair, the internal study found.

The survey also reported that a little more than half of respondents said they trusted CNN, but that was well above the trust level for Trump or members of Congress.

"The CNN brand has been as strong as it has ever been," Zucker said. Network executives said CNN had its most profitable year in 2016 and was on pace to do even better this year.

As state by Firstpost, the fourth estate must adapt and resist in the Trump era. Newsrooms across the US are grappling with the phenomenon that is The Donald and this is the time to actually reverse the claims of 'fake news' by actually targeting, highlighting existing fake news. The relevance of the truth is most important in the what has now come to be known as the post-truth era. If filter bubbles are the problem, there is a need to coordinate with social media giants in enabling that news remains neutral, algorithm-free.

Here are the top highlights from the press conference.

With inputs from AP.


Published Date: Feb 17, 2017 01:06 pm | Updated Date: Feb 17, 2017 01:06 pm