President Trump talks a lot to the media, but more often than not it’s when he responds to shouted questions, appears with a foreign leader, or chats up reporters on Air Force One.
Wednesday’s press conference was a rarity: A full-fledged, freewheeling solo meeting with the media, where he riffed for an hour and 20 minutes, that at times bordered on the bizarre. As CNN’s Jim Acosta said afterward, “I’m not sure this press conference ever was on the rails.”
The press conference was Trump’s longest since February, 2017, when he held a similar event at the White House that also veered from one unusual moment to the next. He has not held one like it until now, and he seemed to relish in sparring and riffing with the press corps.
Here’s a glance at six of the standout media moments from this event:
‘Please sit down.’ Trump seemed genuinely puzzled when Acosta, before asking his question, asked that a female reporter be called upon to ask about the Brett Kavanaugh accusations.
“What does he mean by that, explain?” Trump said.
He shook his head before saying he “wouldn’t mind that at all.”
“Wouldn’t make any difference to me,” Trump said.
At that point, no female journalists had been called upon, and when he did, he sometimes talked over them as they tried to get a question out.
CBS News’ Weijia Jang tried to ask about how allegations that have been made against him have affected his opinion of the Kavanaugh situation.
“You’ve been asking a question for 10 minutes. Please sit down,” Trump said.
She persisted, and he said that the “false” accusations made against him “absolutely” colored how he felt about the Kavanaugh case.
‘Ask Sean Hannity.’ Trump spoke extensively about those accusations against him, made by “four or five women” during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump claimed that the women “got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me,” but it was only Fox News that covered the story.
“You can check with Sean Hannity,” he said.
Trump insisted that the claims against him were “false” and were driven by the desire by the women to cash in on his fame.
The list of women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct is more than four or five, according to The Huffington Post, and some continue to pursue their claims in court.
One of the women, Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” is suing Trump in a New York court for defamation, after he denied her claim that he groped her as she sought his advice in a 2007 meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel. That litigation is ongoing.
Washington’s ‘bad past.’ As he slammed the Democrats as “con artists” in their opposition to the Kavanaugh nomination, Trump speculated that they would vote even against George Washington were he to be put forward as a nominee.
“He may have had a bad past…Didn’t he have a couple of things in his past?” Trump said, seemingly amused at the speculation.
“George Washington would be voted against 100 percent by Schumer and the con artists. 100 percent. 100 percent. So it really doesn’t matter from their standpoint.”
‘Laughing with me.’ Trump drew laughter recently at the United Nations General Assembly when he claimed that his administration had accomplished more in two years than “almost any administration.” At the press conference, though, he claimed that the idea that foreign leaders were laughing at him was “fake news.”
“They weren’t laughing at me. They were laughing with me. We had fun,” he said.
‘Say thank you.’ Trump’s obsession with The New York Times was apparent as he called on reporter Mark Landler.
After referring to the paper as “failing,” Landler noted that the Times actually was “thriving.”
Trump, seeking to take credit for circulation gains, responded, “Say thank you, Donald Trump.”
“I think I’ll stop short of that,” Landler responded.
For all of the criticism that Trump has had of the paper, all of his references to its stories as fake news and even a campaign threat to sue them, he can’t ignore his hometown newspaper of record. During the press conference, he admitted, “I still love the paper.”
‘Very, very large brain.’ Trump defended his administration’s policy toward China, and referred to an expert on China who was “on a show” recently talking about the administration’s strategy, which includes the imposition of an array of tariffs.
“He was saying that China has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump’s very, very large brain.”