President Donald Trump isn’t a big fan of the media, which he has derided on several occasions as being “fake news” if it isn’t a FOX News correspondent who is interviewing him.
But one staggering statistic is hard to ignore: in the first six months of his presidency, Trump has had only one press conference with the news media where he has been the only person involved.
Relevant right now: 6 months in, Trump has given just one solo press conference https://t.co/irLVtiMzK9
— Amanda Wills (@AmandaWills) July 17, 2017
Trump has, of course, fielded questions to the media on many occasion since taking office. Those were typically instances where Trump was speaking alongside someone, however, like a foreign dignitary who was visiting the White House. As CNN points out, though, Trump has only given one solo press conference since January 20, 2017.
That press conference, which took place in February, was a bizarre moment of political theater — Trump took questions for about an hour, where he lambasted the very media that was questioning him and tried to defend his administration just days after former NSA head Michael Flynn had been fired.
“You can talk all you want about Russia, which was all a, you know, fake news, fabricated deal, to try and make up for the loss the Democrats, and the press plays right into it,” Trump said during that press conference in February.
It is perhaps because of his inability to prepare himself for such a spectacle, or the fact that his administration hasn’t produced a huge legislative victory, that Trump has not yet had a second press conference as president. Yet if he doesn’t do one soon, he could be seen as being distant to the fourth estate, making the already rocky relationship between him and the media all the more difficult.
He would also be in bad company. If Trump continues his current rate of solo press conferences, he will only have one more by the end of the year, for a total of two for the year total. That number would be consistent with other presidents who have faced scandals during their time in office — Bill Clinton only had two solo press conferences in 1998, during the time he was under scrutiny for having an affair in the Oval Office; and Richard Nixon only had two press conferences in 1974, the year he resigned from office due to the Watergate scandal.