It’s no secret that many members of the press have been unhappy with the way President Donald Trump has usually dealt with the “mainstream media.” However, on Monday, April 24, New York Times White House Correspondent Glenn Thrush actually praised the way the administration has handled its daily press conferences.
“When Obama had press conferences, he had a single piece of white paper and he had six or seven organizations that he had pre-selected to call upon, and a lot of them were favorable to him,” Thrush stated. “Trump’s free-ranging press conferences, I think, are a lot more democratic than the way Obama conducted them.”
The reporter’s statement comes after a wide-ranging interview on April 5 with Trump by several people at the Times, including Thrush and thus perhaps a reason why Thrush offered praise for this aspect of the Trump administration, but more on that later.
The reporter’s first question dealt with the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court: “Why do you think Democrats feel the need to oppose Gorsuch? What do you think the politics is?”
Well, I think that some of it had to do with the election. They thought they were going to win. You know, winning the Electoral College is, for a Republican, is close to impossible, and I won it quite easily.
And I think they are still recovering from that.
The topic then changed to Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, and her mishandling of surveillance.
“It’s a bigger story than you know,” the president stated. “Take a look at what’s happening. I mean, first of all, her performance was horrible yesterday on television even though she was interviewed by Hillary Clinton’s P.R. person, Andrea Mitchell [the NBC News journalist].”
“What other people do you think will get ensnared in this?” Thrush asked. “Can you give us a sense? How far this might extend -- ?”
“I think from the previous administration,” Trump noted before Thrush asked: “How far up do you think this goes? Chief of staff? The president?”
“I don’t want to say, but you know who,” the president replied. “You know what was going on. You probably know better than anybody.”
Trump then downplayed the suggestion that Russia actually interfered in the nation's 2016 presidential election, calling the concept “a total hoax. There has been absolutely nothing coming out of that.“
When Thrush changed the topic to the use of chemical weapons by Syria’s leader against his own people, Trump said: “I think it’s a disgrace. I think it’s an affront to humanity. Inconceivable that somebody could do that. Those kids were so beautiful.”
“What do you think it says about the role of Russia in Syria?” the correspondent asked.
“I think it’s a very sad day for Russia because they’re aligned, and in this case, all information points to Syria that they did this,” Trump responded before noting that the action was “very disappointing.”
“I never talk about what I do militarily,” he continued. “I’ve been complaining about that for years.”
After praising the Trump administration’s handling of the press and taking part in a lengthy interview with the president, could Thrush be looking for future opportunities to speak with Trump or anyone on his staff? Only time will tell.