Donald Trump held his first press conference as president-elect on Wednesday, and it was just as bizarre and chaotic as his entire presidential campaign.
Trump decided to attack BuzzFeed following its report about compromising information that Russia allegedly compiled on him. He called the popular site a “failing pile of garbage” and threatened that the site “will suffer the consequences,” CNBC reports.
He also went head to head with CNN, accusing them of “going out of their way to build it up,” in reference to the scandalous controversy. CNN initially produced a story referencing the unverified memos that BuzzFeed later published.
After slamming both news outlets, Trump refused to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
"Your organization is terrible," Trump told Acosta. "I am not going to give you a question, you're fake news."
According to Steve Kopack of CNBC, Acosta said he was also told by the incoming White House press secretary that if he asked any more questions he’d be thrown out.
.@Acosta says incoming WH press sec Spicer told him that if he tries to ask Trump a question again during the presser, he'd be tossed out— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) January 11, 2017
Following the conference, CNN published a response to Trump’s bold accusations against the renowned news source.
“CNN's decision to publish carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government is vastly different than Buzzfeed's decision to publish unsubstantiated memos,” an excerpt from the response reads. “The Trump team knows this. They are using Buzzfeed's decision to deflect from CNN's reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organizations.”
CNN concluded their statement by challenging Trump and his transition team to specifically pinpoint what has been reported that they deem inaccurate.
It was expected that BuzzFeed would be on the chopping block during the conference, considering incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s opening remarks were directed at the multimedia outlet.
“It's frankly outrageous and highly irresponsible for a left-wing blog, that was openly hostile to the president-elect's campaign, to drop highly salacious and flat-out false information on the internet just days before he takes the Oval Office,” Spicer said.
The Russian government has also spoken out to denounce the report, calling it a “total hoax” and dismissing it as “pulp fiction.”
In defense of his site, BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief, Ben Smith, tweeted an email he sent to his staff explaining why they were justified in publishing the report and emphasizing that the story noted the allegations were unverified.
“Publishing this document was not an easy or simple call, and people of good will may disagree with our choice. But publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017,” the email’s conclusion read.
Regardless of the veracity of BuzzFeed’s report, Trump’s childlike behavior during his press conference was totally uncalled for. As a public figure and soon-to-be president, Trump needs to have much thicker skin when it comes to unflattering information being published about him.
Along the campaign trail, Trump had no reservations about sharing fake statistics and lies in order to push his own agenda. In fact, he is the driving force behind one of the most controversial lies of Barack Obama’s presidency — the birther conspiracy.
Trump actually boasts of his (overstated) role in urging Obama to produce his birth certificate, despite the fact that he knew very well that Obama is an American citizen. How hypocritical of him to take umbrage with fake news only now that it is negatively affecting his own reputation.
It is a possibility that BuzzFeed’s report may be bogus and could have been published with the malicious intent to attack Trump’s character as Spicer suggested; however, Trump’s response was neither dignified nor presidential.
If he expects to make it through the next four years with what little sanity he possesses, he ought to take note from the Democratic mantra, “When they go low, we go high.”
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Reuters