The joint press conference with POTUS and Prime Minister Hariri of Lebanon turned out to be a very peculiar press conference. The fascination POTUS holds for military generals is starting to become noticeable in the way he conducts himself on the podium.
On Tuesday, July 25th, we gathered in the Rose Garden to witness a very different press conference. To those who regularly attend press events in the White House’s Rose Garden, POTUS sounded different. In his address, he adopted a tone reminiscent of General McMaster talking in front of military troops. Trump is taking a hard line and the natural question is – what comes after this?
The conference was brief, and under unbearable heat in the Rose Garden. While the members of the Lebanese delegation were taking selfies with Ivanka Trump, we all started to wonder why the pressers were not moved to the air conditioned East Room. While this press conference seemed to have more transparency given that POTUS opened the floor for the questions, he knew ahead of time who he would call on and chose only two reporters. If this becomes routine practice, it won’t be good, as the main positive aspect of Trump’s previous conferences was that he called on the press randomly, and faced the hard questions directly.
There were basically three main takeaways. The first was on health care, which was news on its own, the second about the US’s counterterrorism efforts, and the third one about his “disappointment in AG Jeff Sessions”
Before his opening remarks, POTUS made an announcement that despite no vote from the Democrats, they are moving forward with a health care bill. He also did not spare the criticism among members of his own party by stating: “So we had two Republicans that went against us, which is very sad, I think. It’s very, very sad — for them. But I’m very, very happy with the result. I believe now we will, over the next week or two, come up with a plan that’s going to be real, really wonderful for the American people.“
POTUS announced that he wanted to congratulate American people because “we’re going to give you great health care. And we’re going to get rid of Obamacare which should have been, frankly, terminated long ago. It’s been a disaster for the American people,” he said.
However, the American public took their opinion to twitter to disagree with Trump’s adamant claim that ObamaCare was a disaster.
Some of the quotes I have received today from my followers read:
2. The US’s Counterterrorism Efforts
POTUS reiterated the message about the CT efforts his administration is taking against ISIS. He addressed Hezbollah, in the context of Iran.
“Hizballah likes to portray itself as a defender of Lebanese interests, but it’s very clear that its true interests are those of itself and its sponsor — Iran,” POTUS stated.
He also took an opportunity to tell us that he is not a fan of Assad, then switched swiftly to criticize the Obama’s policy in Syria, stating “had President Obama gone across that line and done what he should have done, I don’t believe you’d have Russia and I don’t believe you’d have Iran to anywhere near the extent, and maybe not at all, in Syria today.”
3. Uncertain future for AG Sessions
POTUS made his disappointment in AG Sessions discernible in front of the domestic and foreign press.
“I am disappointed in the Attorney General. He should not have recused himself almost immediately after he took office. And if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and I would have, quite simply, picked somebody else. So I think that’s a bad thing not for the President, but for the presidency. I think it’s unfair to the presidency. And that’s the way I feel,” he said.
However, POTUS refused to give a clear answer as to whether or not he will fire Sessions, keeping everyone in suspense in the coming weeks. “I told you before, I’m very disappointed with the Attorney General, but we will see what happens. Time will tell. Time will tell,” the words of POTUS keep echoing on loop. We’ll see how soon we will have to wait until the next head will roll.