Suggesting that our national attention span has shrunk to the size of a flea on Adderall, President Trump’s first press conference has faded from our collective memory.
It was a doozy. During the hourlong confrontational melee, Trump railed against the media, which he called fake news; inaccurately stated the size of his electoral college victory and was instantly fact-checked by a reporter, which he shrugged off; and said that the rollout of his travel ban was “very smooth.” The “New Yorker” called it “surreal;” “US News” dubbed it “insane.”
That was his only press conference to date, whether or not his performance at the debut had anything to do with it. (Perhaps in the alternate reality he espoused in the first one, he’s had more.) This means he lags far behind other modern presidents.
NBC News reports that according to the American Presidency Project, Trump’s number of news conferences is just a blip in recent presidential history. At this point in his presidency, Barack Obama had held six press conferences and nine joint Q&A sessions with foreign leaders. George W. Bush had held eight joint news conferences. And Bill Clinton had conducted seven solo press conferences, nine joint appearances with foreign leaders, and one with Attorney General Janet Reno.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer says that the president’s social media fills in the gap.
“We have done multiple more opportunities for people to interact with the president, according to several folks that have been here for several administrations,” he said yesterday. “We’ve looked at a lot of data that suggests when you look at the number of availabilities and interviews that the President has given, it’s pretty significant compared to past administrations.”
That may change. The Washington Post reports that Spicer is on his way out as press secretary and will transition to a “behind-the-scenes role.”
Favored to take over? No one. The Hill reports that Trump is considering cutting press briefings to once a week and requiring reports to submit written questions beforehand.