Ed.: 052218 – Words: 602 – Audio: N/A
CNN is reporting that during the press Q&A on Tuesday with visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in President Trump responded rather harshly in his normal “who-cares-what-you-think” attitude to a question posed by ABC’s Karen Travers.
TRAVERS: “Mr. President, do you have confidence in Rod Rosenstein?”
TRUMP: “What’s your next question, please? Excuse me, I have the President of South Korea here, OK? He doesn’t want to hear these questions, if you don’t mind.”
Well, crass as he normally is (and we all know he was actually trying to avoid the subject), I’ve often felt this way myself for decades.
When watching the D.C. press doing their various press conferences and Q&A sessions it has always rather irked me that when any President has had a visiting head-of-state do their little press sessions that the press has been “allowed” to just ask any old questions regardless just how unrelated it is to the business of the visiting dignitary. To me it seems an insult to any head-of-state visiting the White House, having to stand there and wade through domestic questions from the press corps regarding more domestic issues of little or no general concern to a dignitary, and directed primarily at the U.S. president. The domestic press has more than enough ample opportunity to ask those things at the more routine daily briefings and conferences. Yes.. of course Trump refuses to address the press formerly himself hence the press is trying to get some presidential attention. But this is in Trump’s case. The press has historically conducted themselves in what I perceive to be a rude display for a visiting dignitary.
Now, this is not to suggest the press is being intentionally rude. This kind of thing has been a tradition for as long as I can remember. But I have always thought it rude… and if I were president I’d put a stop to it out of simple courtesy. Questions from the press should be regarding issues pertaining to our relations with the visiting country; policies, events, trade, the UN, even world events in general. Also… when the press asks their questions of any U.S. president it’s usually about contentious issues, challenging actions, responses, and performances… typically domestic issues that are akin to airing out our laundry in the presence of someone not American. It’s not that the dignitary can’t read about it all in our press or see it on cable news, but it seems not the place or time for such press encounters when a head-of-state is visiting us, when we might prefer conveying the positive aspects of America, if only at least for a visit. We can be proud of a free press… but we can also be courteous.
Recently I’ve been converting some old DVD’s to MP4 (that in itself originated in most cases from VHS 20+ years ago). One such recording was from The Discovery Channel having done a presentation on “The Press Conferences of JFK”. He originated the events and it’s truly interesting watching the casual, non-intimidating, and relaxed exchanges between the press and Kennedy. In fact, Kennedy became known for being a bit humorous and glib.. much to the delight of the press corps. The good old days to be sure. No comparison to the White House press environment since those days. I highly recommend you flip over on a YouTube search.
Anyway… again, we all realize that Trump was simply evading the question and not one bit thinking of “courtesy” toward the visiting President… but in spirit I have to agree with what he said… and it pains me to do so.