Trump called his first solo press conference as president to announce his new pick for labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, after his first pick, embattled fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, withdrew on Wednesday. It turned into a sparring match between Trump and members of the media, lasting over an hour.
“Thank you for all of the nice statements on the Press Conference yesterday,” the president wrote on Twitter Friday morning. “Rush Limbaugh said one of greatest ever. Fake media not happy!”
Limbaugh praised Trump’s performance on his nationally syndicated radio show, saying it was exactly what the president’s supporters wanted to hear.
“This was one of the most effective press conferences I have ever seen,” Limbaugh said. “The press is going to hate him even more after this. Don’t misunderstand. When I say effective, I’m talking about rallying people who voted for him to stay with him. He made a point — ‘What chaos? You’re reporting chaos. We’re not in chaos. We’re a well-oiled machine. We got one of the smoothest running machines in the history of machines. We got one of the best administrations in the history of administrations.’ ”
He continued, “And he rattled off the achievements they’ve had here that the media is not reporting because they’re so focused on whether or not Trump worked with Russia to screw Hillary out of the presidency. And he was reassuring the people he’s on top of everything. Nothing has changed. Everything he campaigned on, he is doing. All he is doing is fulfilling campaign promises. And of course, the Democrats don’t like him. Of course, the media don’t like him. It isn’t going to stop him.”
Thank you for all of the nice statements on the Press Conference yesterday. Rush Limbaugh said one of greatest ever. Fake media not happy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
The presser quickly went off the rails as the 70-year-old business mogul vehemently defended his presidency and lashed out at the “dishonest” press for publishing “fake news,” including about his Russia scandal.
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“The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it we are doing a tremendous disservice to American people,” Trump told reporters.
“The media is trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on pledges that we made, and they’re not happy about it, for whatever reason,” he added. “I turn on the news and I see stories of chaos. And yet it is the exact opposite. The administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.”
At one point in his lengthy address, Trump told the room full of reporters, “I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you you’re dishonest people.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper called the press conference “unhinged” and “wild,” while many celebrities took to Twitter to speak out against Trump.
It's a waste of time to try to turn Pinocchio into a real President. The focus needs to be on the Geppettos and legislators around him
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) February 16, 2017
This. Is. our. President. We chose him. Yes, we.
— scott foley (@scottkfoley) February 16, 2017
Up until an hour ago, the scariest thing I'd ever watched was Psycho. #TrumpPresser
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) February 16, 2017
“Up until an hour ago, the scariest thing I’d ever watched was Psycho,” wrote author J.K. Rowling.