President Donald Trump wouldn’t take questions at a press conference, leading journalists to rage at Trump’s supposed break with precedent.
NBC News says Trump’s refusal was “breaking with a precedent set by the past three U.S. leaders to push back against China’s tight control over the media.”
The Guardian reported on various former White House media relations staff who condemned Trump’s actions.
And Twitter buzzed with condemnation, despite the fact that it was the Chinese who insisted against taking questions.
Mr. President, we have a First Amendment whether China (and you) like it or not. https://t.co/ekO3RTp8hJ
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) November 9, 2017
Asked why President Trump didn’t take questions from reporters today, Sarah Sanders said, “It was at the Chinese insistence there were no questions today.”
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) November 9, 2017
Trump’s idea of the art of the deal: Roll over.
The Obama WH didn’t accept the “Chinese insistence” (nor the Cuban, Ethiopian, etc.) https://t.co/J9NR3szNPl
— Ned Price (@nedprice) November 9, 2017
The Chinese try this every time. It’s a test of will and principle. Letting them dictate press access is an embarrassing capitulation. https://t.co/uIaEWhcpgF
— Jay Carney (@JayCarney) November 9, 2017
That is a remarkable concession from the president of a country with a First Amendment. https://t.co/SycaE6sJwf
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 9, 2017
NBC News reports:
After a day of meetings, Trump and Xi gave joint remarks in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square Thursday — but the two leaders exited without taking questions.
Trump’s refusal to answer questions from the media in China marked a break from examples set by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. All three took at least one question during appearances with their Chinese counterparts, as part of an effort to exert pressure on China’s government to allow exchanges with reporters.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN “it was at the Chinese insistence there were no questions today.”
Xi has maintained tight control over the press in China and last year introduced a policy enforcing that the news media must pledge loyalty to the state.
Trump, meanwhile, fueled his meteoric presidential campaign by blasting several media outlets as “fake news” and has not relented since taking office. In February, he tweeted that the media is the “enemy of the American people.”
Those who blasted President Trump conveniently left out one important detail. Former President Obama didn’t take questions either with the Chinese president during his first trip to China.
But what they missed or failed to mention was that President Barack Obama also failed to take questions with then-President Hu Jintao during his first trip to China.
“Today’s event had been described as a press conference, but no questions were allowed,” complained The Guardian in 2009. “Instead, Hu and Obama delivered brief prepared comments on their discussions, which had lasted for two and a half hours.”
It wasn’t until Obama’s 2014 trip that both world leaders took questions following their meeting in China. Xi largely ignored a pair of questions posed by a New York Times reporter, the only questions he took from Western press.
The so-called “precedent” wasn’t as well established as the media pretended.
After making bogus remarks, some journalists had to retract their statements, but they still accomplished their goal of fooling Americans once again into thinking Trump’s actions were unique.
Correction: Obama also did not take questions with his counterpart during his first visit. He & Xi did during a subsequent trip in 2014. https://t.co/Q76KocaIiB
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) November 9, 2017
8/ so it’s great that President Obama landed in the right place by the end of his presidency — but he didn’t start there. So all the Obama WH aides beating their chests on this: simmer down.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 9, 2017
Contrary to whatever the mainstream media might claim, Trump was not the first US president since George H.W. Bush to not take questions from the press alongside the Chinese president.
Media outlets who reported this were either too incompetent or too deceptive to print the truth.