More details are coming out about Donald Trump’s blustery closed-door meeting with media stars and executives.
One source said the meeting Monday at Trump Tower turned into a “f*cking firing squad,” as the president-elect lashed out at CNN and other media outlets he believed had unfairly covered his campaign.
“The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing-down,” the source told the New York Post.
Trump’s former campaign manager and current senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway, insisted the closed-door meeting was “very cordial, candid, and honest” — but another participant described Trump’s behavior as “totally inappropriate” and “f*cking outrageous.”
Sources told The New Yorker that television anchors, reporters and executives expected to discuss why the president-elect had not held a news conference since July, but were instead subjected to a barrage of insults and complaints.
“I have to tell you, I am emotionally f*cking pissed,” one participant told The New Yorker. “How can this not influence coverage? I am being totally honest with you.”
“Toward the end of the campaign, it got to a point where I thought that the coverage was all about [Trump’s] flaws and problems — and that’s legit,” the participant continued. “But I thought, okay, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. After the meeting today, though — and I am being human with you here — I think, f*ck him! I know I am being emotional about it, and I know I will get over it in a couple of days after Thanksgiving. But I really am offended. This was unprecedented — outrageous!”
Sources told the magazine that Trump’s criticisms weren’t entirely rational, and they were concerned that he didn’t seem to understand policy any better after his election.
Trump also expressed petty jealousy at perceived favorable coverage President Barack Obama has received from the media.
One participant reminded the real estate developer and former reality TV star that all presidents and presidential candidates sometimes believe they receive unfair coverage, Trump yelped, “Not Obama!”
Participants said Trump also boasted of his “great” relationship with Obama, whom he now “loves” despite questioning the circumstances of his birth for years.
Trump did not raise his voice during the meeting, but instead complained at so steadily a rate that the gathered media members were unable to ask questions or comment.
“It was all so Trump,” a participant said. “He is like this all the time. He’ll freeze you out and then be nice and humble and sort of want you to like him.”
But that same source said Trump’s behavior during the meeting — and his apparent reasons for calling it — were deeply troubling from a constitutional perspective.
“He truly doesn’t seem to understand the First Amendment,” the source said. “He doesn’t. He thinks we are supposed to say what he says and that’s it.”
Trump was back at it again Tuesday morning, abruptly canceling a planned meeting with the New York Times, which he accused of being “not nice” and changing the conditions of the get-together.
However, the newspaper denied changing the terms, and a spokeswoman for Trump later said the meeting would take place as scheduled.