Rhetorically speaking, today's press conference was textbook Trump: He bashed Hillary Clinton for her election loss, criticized former President Obama, praised himself, and went to great lengths to assure everyone of his “outstanding” relationship with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. Interestingly, Trump also stumbled over some of his responses and was called out for his lies and distortions.
When asked about American soldiers’ deaths in Niger, Trump touted his supposed morals by bragging that he made phone calls to the families of the fallen, unlike Obama and other previous presidents — in the process, making these soldiers’ deaths about himself.
“I will at some point during the period of time call the parents and the families because I have done that traditionally,” Trump said. “It’s a very difficult thing, now it gets to a point where you make four or five of them in one day, it’s a very, very tough day, for me that’s by far the toughest.”
He then went on to (falsely) accuse Obama of not doing the same thing: “So the traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate when I think I'm able to do it.”
Later in the press conference, a reporter called him out on his claim that President Obama didn’t call the families of fallen soldiers. Trump then floundered: “I don’t know if he did. I was told that he didn’t often and a lot of presidents don’t, they write letters.” Then he praised himself again: “I do a combination of both, sometimes it’s a very difficult thing to do. President Obama I think probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn’t. I don’t know, thats what I was told.”
And since the news has recently reported tensions between Trump and his colleagues, he decided to negate that news by bragging about his amount of friends. “I have a fantastic relationship with the people in the Senate and with the people in Congress. I’m friends with most of them, I can say, and I don’t think anybody can have much of a higher percentage.” But when pressed about the tension between him and the Democrats of the Senate, especially when it comes to a solution for DACA, Trump responded, “Well, I hope to have a relationship, but if we don’t — we don’t.”
He was also asked about his position on Roy Moore, the newly elected Alabama Senator who said homosexuality should be illegal and that Muslims should not be able to serve in Congress. Trump dodged the question, saying that the “people of Alabama, who I like very much, and they like me very much, they like Roy.” He also mentioned that he will be meeting with Senator Moore to “talk about a lot of different things.”
When asked about the sexual assault allegations that were made against him, Trump dismissed it as “totally fake news.”
He also responded to a question about the Russia investigation by saying that it’s “just an excuse for the Democrats losing the election” even though they “have a big advantage in the electoral college.”
He continued to bash Clinton when asked about her response to the NFL protests, in which she said the protests were not disrespectful to the country.
Unsurprisingly, he concluded the press conference by saying that NFL players who kneel should be suspended and that Clinton’s “statement in itself is very disrespectful to our country.”