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“He’s not going to censor himself:” Political experts react to Mr. Trump’s first press conference since election win

MILWAUKEE -- It was his first press conference since winning the election. On Wednesday, January 11th, President-elect Donald Trump seemed to pick up right where he left off on the campaign trail.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

"Today's press conference was similar to what he used to say and how he handled himself during the campaign, so this is exactly the Donald Trump that people voted for," said Mordecai Lee, political expert and UW-Milwaukee professor.

Lee said if you were expecting a different President-elect Trump vs. the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump -- think again.

Mordecai Lee

Mordecai Lee

"The Donald Trump we saw in the press conference is just that wild and woolly Donald Trump from back in the campaign," said Lee.

Whether you love President-elect Trump's style or hate it, Lee said get used to it.

"Maybe this is a style we need to adjust to and understand this is him. He's not going to censor himself," Lee said.

In the wake of Tuesday's reports on classified documents presented to President-elect Trump which included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising information about him, tension was high at Trump Tower.

The crowd of journalists gathered there wondered how President-elect Trump would respond to BuzzFeed's decision to publish in full unverified memos that were the basis for those allegations.

President-elect Trump did his part to build drama.

President-elect Donald Trump

President-elect Donald Trump

At around 10:00 a.m., just as many TV networks went live, six aides emerged from a bank of elevators carrying large stacks of papers in manila envelopes. They placed the stacks right next to President-elect Trump's podium.

President-elect Trump later said that the papers detailed how his companies have been put into a trust.

Aides prevented reporters from looking at them at the end of the press conference, saying they were "legal documents."

After the stacks of paper were delivered, a radio reporter seated at a table near the back of the room likened it to a move straight out of professional wrestling.

"This is a circus-like atmosphere," the host shouted into his microphone.

President-elect Donald Trump

President-elect Donald Trump

Ten minutes later, the elevator door swung open again. This time it was carrying a number of people who will be top President-elect Trump aides in the White House, including senior counselor Steve Bannon, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani was also in the group.

President-elect Trump, his three eldest children, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer arrived three minutes later.

The attacks on the press began immediately.

Spicer approached the podium first. He denounced BuzzFeed, incorrectly, as a "left-wing blog that was openly hostile to the president-elect's campaign" and said the publication of the report was "shameful."

Spicer also attacked CNN for publishing a substantiated report that a two-page synopsis of the memos' contents had been included as an annex in classified materials presented to President-elect Trump and President Obama.

"The fact that BuzzFeed and CNN made the decision to run with this unsubtantiated claim is a sad and pathetic attempt to get clicks," Spicer said.

(In a statement released after the press conference, CNN noted that its report was "vastly different than BuzzFeed's decision to publish unsubstantiated memos.")

Next up was Pence, who used his time on the mic to bemoan what he called a "concerted effort" by some in the mainstream media to undermine the President-elect Trump presidency.

"You know, I have long been a supporter of a free and independent press, and I always will be," Pence said. "But with freedom comes responsibility."

Then it was President-elect Trump's turn.

He started by calling press conferences "familiar territory," noting that they were a regular feature of his campaign during the Republican primaries. President-elect Trump even suggested that he "won the nomination because of news conferences."

But he had not held one since July 27.

While most presidents-elect over the last 40 years held press conferences within days of their victory, President-elect Trump broke with the tradition.

He attributed the drought to dishonesty in the media.

"We stopped giving them because we're getting quite a bit of inaccurate news," President-elect Trump said.

President-elect Trump told the press he does think Russia hacked the United States in an attempt to sway the election. But when it comes to getting personally hacked by the Kremlin, President-elect Trump said that never happened. Mr. Trump denied details in the unsubstantiated leaked report saying Russia had collected potentially salacious details it could use to blackmail President-elect Trump.

"It`s all fake news.  It`s phony stuff.  It didn`t happen," President-elect Trump said.

Mr. Trump would not tell reporters whether he will roll back President Barack Obama's sanctions against Russia for hacking.

President-elect Trump did say if Vladimir Putin likes him, he considers that an asset, not a liability.

The Russia-related news has overshadowed President-elect Trump's announcement that he's handing over his company to his children, he's planning to announce a Supreme Court replacement in his first two weeks and he's got big news about jobs on the horizon.

Lee said he wasn't surprised the news conference didn't stick to a script.

"His personality is that he sort of likes these freewheeling press conferences. He's willing to talk about anything," Lee said.

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1 Comment

  • Bennie Lee Mitchell Jr

    I, Bennie Lee Mitchell Jr … Would love to say to Mr. President To Be Donald TRUMP, I Feel Your Overseeing Over This Damaged Country We Call The U.S.A. Is In Proper Hands, And Will Be Restored Back To Its Proper Position. Also, Please Respect The Masons, Shriners And Scottish Rites….As You Do The U.S. Veterans. Please Allow Us To Be Known, Give Each State Authority To Make Personalized License Plates For Any Mason WithIn The 50 United States… It`s Just A Small Request, For An Organization That Is So Strong.