President Donald Trump took a “dishonest” media to task during an impromptu press conference at the White House Thursday afternoon, championing his administration as “fine-tuned machine” while lamenting the “horrible mess” he inherited as commander in chief.
“The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to American people,” Trump said in his first news conference with reporters since assuming office.
“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 said. “I turn on the news and I see stories of chaos. And yet it is the exact opposite.”
Trump, who spoke for over an hour in what was initially a press conference to announce Alexander Acosta as his new choice for labor secretary, dove headlong into numerous topics as he took a series of questions from a crowded room of reporters.
The president sought to calm and address concerns on a slew of issues that included education, jobs, crime, immigration, his ties with Russia and his willingness to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus.
“I would love to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus,” Trump told a black reporter who raised the issue.
“I actually thought I had a meeting with [Maryland] Congressman [Elijah] Cummings, and he was all excited — and then he said, ‘it might be bad for me politically. I can’t have that meeting,'” Trump said. “He was probably told, ‘don’t meet with Trump, that’s bad politics.'”
Trump noted that the country is becoming drug-infested.
“Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars. We’re not gonna let it happen any longer,” said Trump, adding that his administration has mandated the Homeland Security and Justice departments to craft a plan to eradicate the criminal cartels bringing in drugs.
Turning the focus to inner cities, Trump said he’d been strong on those areas during his campaign.
“And that’s what probably got me a much higher percentage of the African-American vote than a lot of people thought I was going to get,” Trump said, adding that some inner-city neighborhoods are “almost worse” than places reported on in the Middle East.
“You go to some of these inner-city places and it’s so sad,” Trump said. “I have actually witnessed it a couple of times, where people lock themselves in their apartments petrified to even leave in the middle of the day. They’re living in hell and we can’t let that happen.”
While Trump has talked earlier about better funding the nation’s historically black colleges and universities [HBCUs], which his press secretary said have been “woefully neglected” for the past eight years, he mentioned that an announcement was imminent regarding an executive order on the schools.
Trump also seized the opportunity to recall his electoral college win and approval ratings, and labeled reports on his and his staff’s association with Russia as “fake news.”
Lastly, and contrary to labor statistics indicating at least five months of steady job growth in the twilight of the Obama administration, Trump reiterated his assertion that jobs had been pouring out of the country when he assumed office less than a month ago.