President’s Post Election Press Speech:
The president started off his press conference by pointing out several numbers and statistics, showing how significant the Republican Senate seat gain was, and blaming the loss of control on the House of Representatives upon a lack of wealthy donors, a very hostile media, which he said broke records with regards to bias and hostility, as well as a substantial number of retirees from the GOP.
He then moved on to compare these results to those derived by Obama within his first mid-term elections, highlighting the areas in which his Republicans did better than Obama’s Democrats. He continued to describe the Republican performance in the Governor’s races, in which the Grand Old Party did better than expected against the Democrat candidates, whom he called “talented and well-funded candidates”, not failing to mention Oprah Winfrey in doing so. He specified on the successes of the candidates he supported in person, and more importantly the failure of those who directly opposed him. Comments similar to “too bad Mike” were not scarce as the president concluded what seemed like a victory lap showcasing what he called a great victory, and proving his doubters wrong.
“America is booming”, he continued, talking about the “great numbers” the American economy has attained, after which he commended Democrat successes such as potential speaker Nancy Pelosi, upon whom he has had a great change in thought, proclaiming his wish to be able to work together with the majority party in the House of Representatives along the coming years. He didn’t stop there though, he went further by saying that the path is in fact now easier, “much easier”, as he describes how Democrats will come forward with strategies with regards to all sectors requiring reform in the US, and then all that would be left is for him to “negotiate”.
Trump rebuked Democrat threats on launching several investigations by saying that “we can play it better”, going so far as to say that the parties cannot work together if one of them is busy investigating the other and finding ways to “impeach everyone”. He joined Nancy Pelosi in promoting bipartisanship multiple times, sounding quite confident that the two parties agree on many issues that require reform such as health and that the main focus will be to find a compromise by creating a bipartisan environment. Speaking of the environment, it is not something Trump spoke at length about but mentioned two main priorities, said priorities being “crystal clear water” and “the cleanest air”, which he said are two things the US already have, and want to continue having.
Questions by the Press:
The press conference then moved on to what would be quite a particularly heated series of questions from the correspondents present. The following is a short description of every question that was asked, leaving out the repetitions and incomprehensible questions and answers.
The first question directed towards the president was about Bipartisanship. He was asked if attaining this level of Bipartisanship will harm the Republican party in terms of not keeping to its electoral promises and having to reach an unfavourable compromise. He was also asked what the president’s reaction would be if the Democratic party started launching several subpoenas and investigations rather than immediately start working harmonically as the president described.
To this question, Trump answered that both he and the Republican Party would be reciprocating whatever behaviour their Democrat counterparts choose to use, and continued to make clear that they should not choose that path as “we can play that game better than them”.
Donald Trump was asked about if he was prepared to carry out a government shut down in order to carry out promises such as the promised wall. He was also asked whether cabinet members and the attorney general would remain the same.
To this, the president responded by affirming that this would probably not be required as many Democrats also think that the wall is something America needs in order to protect its citizens. He said that the cost of the wall is but a tiny fraction of the finances required to defend the US Border. That said he did not commit as to whether or not he would consider a government shut down and was heard remarking that this might be required to do what needs to be done. He did not answer the question as to whether all members of the cabinet and the attorney general would remain the same (The attorney general, in fact, resigned a few minutes following the press conference and was replaced by his chief of staff)
A question was posed as to if the president would stand by his open-book tone should the Democrats choose to go after his tax returns and if he would release them.
He went on to mention the size and credibility of his accounting firms, remarking that the people, namely the journalist asking, do not understand tax returns. He did say that he would have an “open mind” about releasing his details, but also affirmed that something like that would only happen after the current auditing process is over, due to what he called legal advice and common sense. He did not elaborate on what was meant by “open mind”.
He was challenged about a statement he made during the campaign for the mid-term elections, specifically when the migrant caravan was recognised as an “invasion”. The CNN journalist is well-known for attacking Trump without reserves in his questioning, and this time he insisted that the caravan was indeed not an invasion.
To this, the president reaffirmed his thoughts on the migrant caravan being, in fact, an invasion and insisting that not only did he want immigrants to come to the US, but that the growing economy needed foreigners to work in it. The only condition Donald Trump set is that he wanted migrants to enter the country legally and documented. Following incessant pressure from the journalist, Trump embarked on an attack on CNN and how “they should be ashamed to have someone like you representing them”, adding that the reporter “should let me run the country and you run CNN”. When another journalist from NBC stood in the reporters’ defence Trump immediately followed with an, “well I’m not a fan of yours either”.
He was questioned about his saying that the Democrats are a danger to the country, this time by an NBC journalist, who asked why the president thinks so.
Mr.Trump answered by saying that the simple reason is that the Democrats are “weak”, in his own words, and that because they’re not strong enough to govern, they are not able to take all the necessary measures and decisions for the best of the country. As the reported pressured further, he was met by criticism of the NBC from the President who then told the journalist to sit down so that others could ask.
The president was asked about the Mueller investigation and if he would work to remove Mueller from his current position.
He replied by emphasising that he could do so if he wanted to and delved into how extremely damaging this investigation and its works abroad were to the United States of America.
He was asked about how he planned to keep healthcare premiums down without the individual funding mandate.
The president said that there are currently “some incredible healthcare plans” underway and in the pipelines, each of which will remove what he called the disastrous individual mandate. While answering he did not fail to mention the failed Obamacare plan and how it was effectively replaced in order to contain the damage it would’ve done.
A question was posed as to if Mike Pence would be running once more for the post of Vice-president alongside Donald Trump as he runs for re-election in 2020.
Trump immediately affirmed this notion, even jokingly asking Mike Pence on the spot if he would campaign alongside him come next election, to which Pence naturally accepted.
Mr.Trump was asked about how his pro-life agenda would fare amidst the now split House of Representatives.
The president did not offer much of a reply to this question, stating that he thinks he, “and only [he]” has the solution to this problem.
A journalist inquired about why the US Farm bill hasn’t yet been passed.
The Democrats were unsurprisingly blamed for this bill not being passed due to their failure to provide the required amount of votes in order to pass this bill along with.
The next question regarded the potentiality of foreign intervention in the US midterm elections.
It was said that a full security report is commissioned to be written up, as the president emphasised upon the hard work being done with regards to the situation, “unlike previous administrations”. Good relationships with Russian president Vladimir Putin and other world leaders were mentioned, along with a somewhat unsurprising attack on Barack Obama, whom he blamed for the annexation of Crimea.
Economics came into play next, as a journalist asked how plans for the 10% middle-class tax cut would change now that the Democrats controlled the House of Representatives, and if Republicans would concede to increase corporate tax in order to do so.
As was the answer with many other questions, it was said that once the Democratic party comes up with a comprehensive proposal, the president would welcome it along with what he called “some adjustments”
After saying that many leaders called in to congratulate him on his result in the mid-terms, he was now asked who those leaders were, and if Putin was one of them. Additionally, it was asked if the two leaders would meet for lunch.
The answer was that there were no plans for such a meeting in the nearest event, but that there would be a place for it during the coming G20 meeting.
Violence fuelled by politics, electoral abuse and war against the media were all brought up in a question asking how making amends to this situation was planned.
Expectedly, Trump spoke about longing to see unity and peace within the country, and that now that the mid-term elections were over there was even more space for this to happen. Things will be even better he said, if the media covered him “fairly”, saying that he is currently covered “extremely unfairly”, specifying on the lack of media emphasis on the strength of the economy and that things would be different if Barack Obama was still the President.
Asked about God’s role in his life, to whom he had attributed most of his 2016 electoral victory, Trump continued to confirm this.
“God plays a very big role in my life”, he said before referring people to Mike Pence who also played a role in the 2016 elections and could confirm this he said.
A Japanese journalist asked the president a question with regards to how trade relations between the US and Japan are expected to move forward.
The fact that the journalist was Japanese is important as Trump started off by throwing a hit towards Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; “Say hello to Shinzo, I’m sure he’s happy about tariff on his cars”, before saying that Japan treated America very unfairly when trade is concerned, and not going into the actual future of trade relations between the two countries.
The seemingly distant talks with North Korea were mentioned, as journalists pointed out that said talks seemed to have met a halt as no further news was ever published regarding the situation. The meeting with Kim Jong Un was mentioned and relations with prime minister Justin Trudeau were also brought up.
“sanctions are still on, the missiles have stopped, the hostages are home”, is what the defence was, as the white house seems to be in no pressure to advance talks and relations with North Korea. This was affirmed by the expected boasting from Trump about his negotiating skills; “nobody else could’ve done what I’ve done”. He said that the meeting with Kim Jong Un is to be taking place early on next year and that relations with Mr.Trudeau have been drastically repaired.
Anti-semitic incidents were next in line to be brought up.
The president said that incidents such as these showcase a greatly saddening reality, continuing to show how much he has done for Israel, mentioning the US embassy in Israel, and even quoting Israeli PM in saying “nobody has done more for Israel than this president.
In line with the previous question, the fact that Trump is a self-proclaimed nationalist was questioned, with racism implications well included within the question.
The response to this question is a hostile one, with the journalist being accused of racism and an emphasis on what he calls high polling levels amongst African Americans. He also adds on by saying that the journalist “[has] problems” if questions like these are asked. Along with this, he denied all accusations of using racist adjectives or remarks on people of different skin colour.
Questions with regards to the issue of Birthright Citizenship were never answered.
The last question regarded the US border and military presence along with it.
Trump emphasised the importance of military presence at the border, with or without the wall, as the people of the United States want physical security from their government, not a merely financial investment.
The press conference was closed with the president’s emphasising his right to defend himself against what he called a hostile and unfair media.
Written by: Gianluca Vella