November 22, 2019
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Trump sets long-awaited news conference for
January 11. President-elect Donald Trump announced Tuesday
that he would hold a “general news conference” on Jan. 11, his first formal press conference
since his November election victory. Trump had been scheduled to hold a press conference
on Dec. 15 to discuss his plan to leave his sprawling business empire as he takes office
Jan. 20, but that event was postponed. Since taking office, Trump has sat for a few
television interviews and has taken a handful of shouted questions from the press pool � a
small group of reporters who follow the president � both at Trump Tower in New York and outside
his coastal Florida estate. Trump’s last full-fledged news conference
was July 27, which he held at his Miami-area golf course as counterprogramming to the ongoing
Democratic National Convention. It was there that Trump called upon Russia
to hack his opponent Hillary Clinton’s emails saying, “I will tell you this, Russia: If
you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” His staff later insisted that Trump was joking. In lieu of press conferences, the president-elect
has communicated to the American public through tweets, as well as a series of December “Thank
You” rallies in states that helped provide his winning margin in the Electoral College. Trump’s team has downplayed the need for news
conferences. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, said
last month that the press would have access to the president. “This will be a traditional White House in
the sense that you will have a great deal of press availability on a daily basis and
you’ll have a president who continues to be engaged with the press,” she said in an interview
with ABC. While Trump’s lack of press interaction is
a worry to some, many of his supporters cheered the celebrity businessman’s battles with what
they felt were biased reporters. Trump made his antagonistic relationship with
the media a centerpiece of his campaign, inciting his rally crowds to boo the press, singling
out individual reporters with derogatory names like “sleazebag” and using Twitter to attack
coverage he didn’t like. His predecessors took a different approach. Two days after the Supreme Court decision
gave him the 2000 election, George W. Bush held a press conference where reporters asked
him about his Cabinet picks and tax plans. He proceeded to field more questions each
of the next two days. Barack Obama, also regularly held news conferences
after winning, taking questions from the White House press corps 18 different times as president-elect. Bush, who had a shorter transition due to
the extended Florida recount, did so 11 times.

Robin Kshlerin

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