Trump Claims He'll Hold Press Conference, But Will He Follow Through?
Though there has been no mention of a specific time or place for the event, President-elect Donald Trump claims he'll hold a press conference on Jan. 11 in New York, as stated on his Twitter account Tuesday. But, realistically speaking, will he actually follow though? Trump's track record indicates that he consistently avoids press conferences, either postponing them or avoiding to schedule them altogether — so it wouldn't be entirely unfair to be skeptical about this one as well.
Trump's avoidance of the media shows a very obvious pattern. Trump hasn't held a press conference since July 27, which would make this proposed January engagement his first press conference since his election. This avoidant behavior is unlike any other president-elect (dating back, at least, to Jimmy Carter), all of whom held regular press conferences almost immediately after their respective elections.
What's more, Trump postponed an important Dec. 15 press conference, an issue that senior adviser Kellyanne Conway addressed lightly on Anderson Cooper 360 on Monday. Conway justified the postponement, saying, "I believe it was rescheduled for Jan. 11, originally, and if the lawyers and the compliance officers feel like we're ready, then we'll stick to that date. It's really up to them."
This behavior is not Trump's only departure from post-presidential election norms, however. "Trump also has granted few interviews since Election Day, ditched his traveling press corps on multiple occasions and made no promises about preserving such White House traditions as the daily media briefing and the protective press pool," The Washington Post noted recently. Whereas the Trump campaign once thrived on media exploitation and attention, the president-elect has now gone dormant and private, only truly sounding off on Twitter. Other than these outburst, Trump's press endeavors have been controlled interviews held at his resort in Florida and his home base of Trump Tower.
The proposed December press conference was initially scheduled in order to "discuss how he planned to handle the operations of the Trump Organization while president." According to Politico, a top campaign adviser to Trump believes that this January date could provide more of the same, saying that Trump's press conference could reveal an "ethics plan to guard against potential conflicts of interest between his business empire and his incoming administration."
Last month, Conway insisted that Trump would cooperate with the press. "This will be a traditional White House in the sense that you will have a great deal of press availability on a daily basis and you'll have a president who continues to be engaged with the press," she said in an interview with ABC.
This strangely constructed press conference announcement could be a sign that Trump is becoming more open with the press in assessing his imminent presidency. Either that or its merely a break from a comfortable, protective pattern that he may very well revert to upon his inauguration.