"How Donald Trump uses distraction and surprise" PBS NewsHour 11/21/2016
HINT: Trump can't stand the heat of a news conference, he doesn't want his policies questioned.
SUMMARY: As Donald Trump chooses members of his upcoming administration and begins to outline his plan for once he takes office, Judy Woodruff speaks with Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report and NPR's Tamara Keith about his avoidance of press conferences, his penchant for unpredictability and his first staff picks.
JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour): Time for Politics Monday.
I'm joined by Tamara Keith of NPR and Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report.
And welcome to both of you.
AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Thank you.
TAMARA KEITH, NPR: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we just a few minutes ago saw this video the Trump transition team released, telling us what Donald Trump plans to do in the first — in the early part of his administration after he's inaugurated.
He talked about trade. He talked about energy and investigating people who abuse their visas, trying to make sure people aren't here taking jobs away from Americans.
Amy, this is unusual, isn't it? I mean, the election is almost two weeks ago. He has not had a news conference yet. He's done some tweeting. We have seen him greeting people coming to Trump Tower, and now this.
AMY WALTER: And now a video, where, obviously, you cannot do questions and answers.
The only thing he — interestingly he said in the video is the things he was going to do by executive order, not things that he would — here is what I'm going to work on with Congress in my first three days. Here are the things that I'm going to do as President.
And, again, each President has come in with the ability for executive orders to roll back the previous administration's executive orders, right, because they're not a rule of law in the same way as if they were passed by Congress.
That said, to your other point about this being unusual, we have to stop treating Donald Trump like this is just a traditional, normal, political candidate who's now going to be a traditional, normal President.
The fact that he did tweet out this weekend, get in something of a fight with the cast of “Hamilton,” as well as the cast of “Saturday Night Live,” this now as president-elect, not just as a candidate, the fact that he's just using video, instead of having an actual Press conference, so the role that Donald Trump carved out as a candidate is the same role that he's going to play as President.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What does it tell us, Tam, about how he relates to the public and to the news media?
TAMARA KEITH: Yes. So, he hasn't held a press conference since July.
This goes way, way, way back to the campaign. And he has not related to the press or the public in a traditional way ever. And he's had an incredible skill at distracting, at creating — there was this movie “Up” and there was a dog who gets distracted, and, squirrel, squirrel.
That's what happens. Every time there is a story that is not favorable to him, like settling the Trump University lawsuit for $25 million, suddenly, there is a Twitter fight.
Meanwhile, he has skillfully avoided sort of the type of environment that a press conference creates, the environment where you get asked a question, and then somebody else asks a question, then somebody else asks a question, it builds on it, and you really can't escape.
And so there is nothing like a press conference. And his transition team is saying, well, you know, don't tell him what's traditional and what is conventional. This is Donald Trump.