Donald Trump can't "Make America Great Again" until — or unless — he is elected president, but he told a crowd in New Hampshire on Thursday night that he already has "really good news."
"I just heard that the press is stuck on their airplane," the Republican nominee said in Laconia. "They can't get here. I love it. So they're trying to get here now. They're going to be about 30 minutes late. They called us and said, 'Could you wait?' I said absolutely not. Let's get going. Right?"
Trump's audience cheered.
Trump has left behind his traveling press corps before. Two weeks ago, he scheduled a last-minute trip to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto but sent his press plane straight to Phoenix, where he would deliver an immigration speech later in the day. Reporters were not happy.
Trump repeated the performance Thursday by not only ditching the media but also bragging about it at the rally, something he did not do after the Mexico episode.
The latest incident continues a dramatic reversal of media relations in the past week, shattering any illusion that Trump plans to be more cordial to reporters down the stretch than he has been throughout his campaign.
Last Thursday, Trump tore up his media blacklist, agreeing to grant campaign event credentials to news outlets such as The Washington Post, Politico and BuzzFeed that he previously barred from spaces reserved for journalists. And after Hillary Clinton was slow to reveal a pneumonia diagnosis over the weekend, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway appeared on MSNBC on Monday, talking about transparency and respect for the press. It appeared that Trump was softening his attitude toward the media.
Then the Trump team pulled an abrupt U-turn. Conway lost her cool in an interview on CNN on Tuesday morning. Ivanka Trump argued with a reporter from Cosmopolitan magazine and cut short an interview Wednesday. The same day, Donald Trump Jr. ended an interview with a Pennsylvania TV station when asked about Trump Foundation expenditures.
Donald Trump continued the string with his airplane antics in New Hampshire — which came hours after he took a shot at CNN's Anderson Cooper, co-moderator of a general-election debate next month.
So much for a softening.
Unlike Clinton, who began allowing reporters to fly on her plane early this month, Trump flies separately. His campaign makes travel arrangements for a media plane that follows Trump Force One from event to event. News outlets pay for the cost of their reporters' travel.
On Thursday, after Trump taped an appearance on NBC's "Tonight Show" in New York, the media's plane departed late from an airport in Teterboro, N.J., bound for New Hampshire. Trump's plane flew out of LaGuardia in New York.
The media plane touched down at Laconia Municipal Airport at 8:03 p.m., according to a pool report; Trump took the stage at Laconia Middle School two minutes later, refusing to wait for journalists to arrive. When reporters got to the school at 8:28, they managed to catch only the last eight minutes of the candidate's address, according to the pool report — or even less, according to others.