"Fine-Tuned-Machine": Trump lashes out at media, leaks in tense press conference

President Donald Trump on Thursday held his first extended press conference from the White House in which he took the opportunity to rail against intelligence leaks and the media. He lambasted the press for its "dishonest" and "hate-filled" coverage of his administration's activities, claimed that the White House is "running like a fine-tuned machine" and said that, although the leaks from his administration were real, the news they imparted was "fake."

"I turn on the TV, open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos. Chaos! Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine," he said in response to a reporter's question.

During the 75 minute bizarre press conference, Trump fired off numerous broadsides at the media as he skipped from topic to topic in what critics saw as an attempt to deflect attention from his alleged ties to Russia.

Trump Cabinet is facing this week controversial resignation of its National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to top government officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. On Thursday night it was also confirmed that Trump’s preferred replacement for the position of national security adviser Robert Harward has turned the job down.

This week, the US President also saw the withdrawal of his labor secretary nominee Andrew Pudzer due to scanty Republican Senate support for his confirmation. Puzder faced concerns from Republicans over his personal background and business record

During the press briefing, Trump announced Alexander Acosta, a Florida lawyer, as his new pick for labour secretary, becoming the first Latino politician in his Cabinet

As reported in The Guardian, the White House press conference rapidly turned into a sprawling, freewheeling and pugnacious defence of his first four weeks as president and a bitter denunciation of the press.

His many complaints about his critics and about the state of the nation recalled his campaign rhetoric—and suggest he liked the campaign a lot more than his new job, reported The Atlantic.  

The president claimed that his administration has been fulfilling some of his key campaign promises and is anything but chaotic, although "I inherited a mess" upon taking office.

He said that he would issue a new executive order on immigration "next week" designed to "protect" the country, although he provided no further details.

Defending himself from critics, Trump said there has been “incredible progress” over the past four weeks: “I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we have done.”

The measures taken so far include withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, eliminating regulations that “undermine manufacturing”, plans to smash international drugs cartels and strengthening the country’s borders, as reported in The Guardian. Trump contrasted himself with past politicians who made promises only to break them.

 He touted his launching of the repeal and replacement of the Obamacare, and his moving forward on building a wall along the US-Mexico border, withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership joint trade deal and eliminating government regulations.

He went on to denounce reports that some of his advisers were in contact with Russian officials before the Nov. 8 election, calling them "fake news," and - after sidestepping the question repeated on several occasions - said that "nobody I know of" on his team was involved in that kind of activity  He said that "the leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake."

 He also said, in response to questions regarding his apparent strong interest in cultivating a less contentious US relationship with Moscow, which many have suggested may mean that he has unrevealed ties to Russia, "I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don't have any deals in Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge no person that I deal with does."

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Friday, February 17, 2017 - 3:17am
Trump lashes out at media, leaks in tense press conference
US President Donald J. Trump participates in a press conference in the East Room in of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 16 February 2017. EPA/SHAWN THEW