On Wednesday afternoon, Donald Trump gave his first news conference in over a year and a half. It was a predictably hostile affair where Trump rarely allowed a reporter to complete a question before interrupting and talking over them before he even knew what the question was. And invariably his answer had little to do with the actual substance of the inquiry.
While the event covered subjects as varied as the economy, the fate of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, trade with China and elsewhere, and Judge Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court debacle, there was one subject that stood out. Stemming from questions about the controversy over sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh, Trump was asked about his own problems concerning the mistreatment of women. After having called on several male reporters, Trump, at the urging of CNN’s Jim Acosta, called on Weijia Jiang of CBS News. She jumped right in with what would have been a piercing inquiry had Trump allowed her to finish:
Jiang: Have your personal experiences, being accused by more than a dozen women of sexual misconduct…
Trump: I’ve been accused. (Interrupting) Excuse me. And I was accused by, I believe it was four women. You can check with Sean Hannity. You can check with Fox. Cause they covered it very strongly. Excuse me. I was accused by four or five women who got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me. We caught them and the mainstream media refused to put it on television. They refused to even write about it. There were four women, and maybe even more – I think the number’s four or five.”
Trump claims he was accused of assault by "4 or 5 women" (it was actually 15), then advises a reporter that she should check with Sean Hannity, because he's the expert about the topic. #wut
The president goes on to smear his accusers as money-seekers. pic.twitter.com/KFunnofXnf
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 26, 2018
First of all, anyone who bothers to check with Sean Hannity to corroborate Trump’s account is seriously in need of professional help. This is reminiscent of the time Trump went into a crazed rant during a debate because “everybody refuses to call Sean Hannity.”
Trump then rattled off some vague, unsubstantiated accounts of women who he said were paid to make false allegations against him. He offered zero evidence that there were any women whose stories were deliberately fabricated for money. However, he did say that one of the women reported her story after refusing to take $750,000. Which actually validates the allegations against him and sanitizes her motives. Is he listening to himself?
Trump went on to complain about some stories he heard about a few women who were included in an article in the New York Times who later disputed the portrayal of them in the article. Trump falsely stated that the Times never reported on those women’s disputes. But the Times did cover that, along with standing by the accounts of many more women in the article. Trump’s conclusion from that was that “a lot of the news is fake. And a lot of the people sitting here are fake.” REally? There are fake people now?
Jiang then tried to ask her question which Trump had repeatedly interrupted. He told Jiang that “you’ve been asking a question for ten minutes.” Then he rudely told her to sit down. Nevertheless, she persisted. And she managed to get out her question which was whether the charges against him has impacted his opinion on charges against Kavanaugh. He said that:
“Well it does impact my opinion. You know why? Because I’ve had a lot of false charges made against me. I’m a very famous person, unfortunately. […] So when I see it I view it differently than someone sitting home watching television where they say ‘Judge Kavanaugh this or that.’ It’s happened to me many times.”
Trump brusquely tells a female reporter to "sit down" as she tries to ask him about the sexual assault accusations against him. The optics aren't great. pic.twitter.com/phIJHFYce7
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 26, 2018
So Trump is admitting that it “absolutely” affects his opinion with regard to Kavanaugh. And he was angry that only Fox News reported any of this in a way that made him look innocent. He also made a point of praising the network saying “Well, Fox. I like Fox. I really do.” Then, of course, he lied about his relationship with Hannity, whom he talks to almost every night, telling reporters that “I don’t talk to him very much.”
In the end, Trump dishonestly portrayed himself as being open minded about the allegations against Kavanaugh. He said that he could be persuaded by his accusers when they testify before Congress on Thursday (note: only one of them is being permitted to do so). But that’s not possible if he’s already convinced that Kavanaugh is telling the truth. Plus, he has repeatedly accused the Democrats pursuing more info of engaging in a “con job.” And his admitted prejudice due to his own experiences makes it even harder to believe that his mind isn’t made up.
Finally, he must not be allowed to get away with lying about the extent of the charges against him. It isn’t four or five women. It’s at least sixteen. And that alone should be sufficient cause to remove him from office. Even if special counsel Robert Mueller doesn’t make the case for collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice, Trump is simply unfit to serve.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.