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Saturday 17 November 2018

Trump clashes with reporters during fiery White House news conference

Mr Trump insulted several reporters by name, interrupted their questions, ordered some to sit down and deemed one inquiry ‘racist’.

President Donald Trump speaks with CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks with CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By Jonathan Lemire, Catherine Lucey and Darlene Superville, Associated Press

US President Donald Trump has continued his attacks on the media in a news conference at a White House press conference.

Mr Trump insulted several reporters by name, interrupted their questions, ordered some to sit down and deemed one inquiry “racist” at the conference held a day after the US midterm elections where the president’s Republican Party retained control of the Senate but lost its majority in the House of Representatives.

He also sidestepped repeated questions about upcoming staffing changes in his West Wing or Cabinet – including the fate of embattled attorney general Jeff Sessions – but hinted that moves could be coming soon.

At one particularly heated point in the conference, Mr Trump got into a tense exchange with Jim Acosta from television news channel CNN, which led to the president calling him a “terrible person”.

On Tuesday, the president telephoned Democratic Nancy Pelosi, a conversation that her office said included congratulations and a nod to her pitch for bipartisanship. And on Wednesday, he said she deserves to be House speaker.

“I give her a lot of credit. She works very hard and she’s worked long and hard. I give her a great deal of credit for what she’s done and what she’s accomplished,” Mr Trump said.

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President Donald Trump looks on as a White House aide takes away a microphone from CNN journalist Jim Acosta (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Widely viewed as a referendum on Mr Trump’s presidency, the election results offered a split decision that revealed deep tensions in the American electorate.

Mr Trump’s aggressive campaign blitz, which paid off in some key victories, suggests he is likely to continue leaning into the fray.

Control of the House gives Democrats the ability to launch investigations into the president and stifle his agenda, but White House aides called on them to reach across the aisle.

“I don’t know that there will be much of an appetite for Democrat lawmakers to spend all of their time, or most of their time or even a fraction of their time investigating, instigating, trying to impeach and subpoena people,” said Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.

In addition to his conversation with Ms Pelosi, Mr Trump called Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, Republican House speaker Paul Ryan and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, as well as other candidates he backed during the race, the White House said.

And he downplayed reports of voter irregularity and suppression, particularly in Georgia, instead saying: “I heard it was very efficient in Georgia.”

Mr Trump had aggressively campaigned in the closing days of the race, with his focus on boosting Republicans in states he won in the presidential election in 2016.

In the three races he targeted on the final day, Mr Trump’s picks won, with Republican Mike Braun defeating Democratic senator Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Republican Josh Hawley defeating Democratic senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Republican attorney general Mike DeWine defeating Democrat Richard Cordray in the race for Ohio governor.

Press Association

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