WASHINGTON — President Trump dismissed reports about contacts between his advisers and Russia on Thursday and defended his performance in his first four weeks in office in a contentious news conference that showcased his unconventional and unconstrained presidency.
At a hastily organized White House event ostensibly intended to announce a new labor secretary, Mr. Trump engaged in an extended attack on the news media and boasted that his new administration was a “fine-tuned machine,” not the chaotic operation perceived by many in Washington.
The challenges, he said, were a result of his predecessors. “To be honest, I inherited a mess, a mess, at home and abroad, a mess,” he said.
Over the course of about an hour and a half, the president revealed that he had asked the Justice Department to investigate leaks, said he would sign a new executive order next week restricting travel to the United States and promised to produce in March a plan to repeal and replace his predecessor’s health care system, followed by another plan to overhaul the tax system.
But the session was marked by an extraordinarily raw and angry defense the likes of which has never been seen in a modern White House. At times abrupt, often rambling, characteristically boastful yet seemingly pained at the portrayals of him, Mr. Trump seemed intent on reproducing the energy and excitement of his campaign after a month of grinding governance. He returned repeatedly to his contest with Hillary Clinton and at one point plaintively pleaded for understanding.
“The tone is such hatred,” he said, referring to the commentary about him on cable television. “I’m really not a bad person.”
Mr. Trump disputed any contention that the White House was out of control or not fully functional. “There has never been a presidency that has done so much in such a short period of time,” he said. “And we haven’t even started the big work that starts early next week.”
“Jobs are pouring out of the country,” he said. “ See what’s going on with all of the companies leaving the country, going to Mexico and other places.” Overseas, he said, he found “disaster.”Read More...
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