The Donald Trump press conference from Trump Tower that started shortly after 11 a.m. today is heading into the record books. All three cable news networks — Fox News, CNN, MSNBC — carried the event live. Pundits will say it was unhinged. Supporters of the real-estate mogul will boast that it represents their guy at his brashest, most unvarnished best. And researchers in the realm of media accountability will crunch numbers showing that the event inflated the generous time that television networks accord to Trump stuff.
You can see the condemnations in the pipeline: Cable news runs his press conferences unfiltered!
In this case, that’s a good thing, for a number of reasons:
• Because in this press conference, Trump had the opportunity to answer a number of questions dating back to that famous January fundraiser for veterans that Trump promoted as an alternative to his participation that night in a debate hosted by Fox News, with which he was ostensibly feuding. On numerous occasions, Trump said that he pulled in $6 million in donations for veterans groups that night, as The Post’s David Fahrenthold has documented.
• Because it appears that Trump didn’t, in fact, raise $6 million that night for veterans groups; he raised much less, and only recently attempted to close the gap with a contribution of his own.
• Because when he was pressed on just when veterans groups got their donations, he responded with self-serving platitudes such as “I have raised a tremendous amount of money for the vets.” And: “If we could, I wanted to keep it private because I don’t think it’s anyone’s business if I want to send money to the vets.” For context:
• Because Trump seems unsettled by the act of reporting: “I will say that I think the press should be ashamed of themselves and on behalf of the vets, the press should be ashamed of themselves. They are calling me and they are furious because I sent people checks for a lot of money … and instead of being like ‘Thank you very much, Mr. Trump,’ or ‘Trump did a good job,’ everyone’s saying, ‘Who got it? Who got it? Who got it?’ And you make me look very bad. I have never received such bad publicity for doing such a good job.”
• Because Trump demonstrated that his ability to blame the media outstrips that of all his fellow GOPers: “The problem with the press, what they do is they convince people like me not to do it, not to give money to a lot of different things because it’s a lot easier that way, actually.”
• Because Trump called one reporter a “sleaze.”
Actually, that’s not too newsworthy.
• Because Trump said over and over and over and over again that he didn’t want “credit” for his donations. Even though he has bragged over and over and over again that he gave them. “I wanted to make this out of the goodness of my heart. I didn’t want to do this where the press was all involved,” said the guy famous for acting as his own publicist.
Trump loves the press, except when it acts like a free press.