BOSTON (CBS) – “It was a great day yesterday, it was a great evening, I think we had a tremendous success,” said President Trump at his post-election press conference.
That was the president’s spin and he stuck to it, already knowing that the news media’s take on the GOP’s loss of House control was the opposite.
So with a by-now familiar tactic, the president tried to salvage a measure of political victory by engaging in a bitter exchange with a familiar foil, CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta. He and Mr. Trump repeatedly interrupted each other as the president responded to a question about his campaign references to that migrant caravan, with Mr. Trump ultimately ordering him to surrender the microphone, which Acosta initially refused to do. The White House suspended Acosta’s press pass Wednesday night.
It looked like the run-up to a barroom brawl, questionable optics for the reporter, and a strategic win of sorts for the president. Why?
In national polling late last month only 30 percent said the president has done more to unite the country, barely half of the number who see him as divisive. Those are bad numbers, but they’re much better than the response to the same question asked about the national news media, seen as divisive by nearly a four-to-one margin.
At his press conference, the president said of House Democrats “they’re in the majority, I’m just gonna blame them” if gridlock occurs.
And as he gears up to finger Democrats, the president knows he can always get good political results by blaming his favorite target.
“Hopefully the tone can get a lot better,” he said. “And I really believe it begins with the media.”