It was quite a news day on Wednesday, with President Trump in Hanoi walking away from a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after no agreement could be reached on denuclearization of North Korea and, in Washington, a hearing that featured the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, dishing on the president’s personal character and campaign.
But for Jim Acosta of CNN, the big story was that a press conference was held after the meetings broke up in Hanoi, and the president did not call on him.
“First of all, Christiane,” he said to Christiane Amanpour, who was anchoring the segment for CNN, “I think we have to point out the obvious, which is the president steered clear largely during this news conference of the White House press corps and instead was selecting journalists at random from the other side of the room where there were foreign journalists seated.
“He didn’t even know who he was calling on at times. He was calling on reporters from Russian state media, Chinese state media, Sean Hannity from Fox, and largely just avoiding taking questions from the White House press corps.
“I think that was by design. That was because he didn’t want to really answer the questions about Michael Cohen. One question out of this entire news conference about Michael Cohen was asked of the president. And as you heard there in that comment you just played a few moments ago, the president referring to the Michael Cohen testimony as a fake hearing.
“And the president was also cherry picking what he liked from Michael Cohen’s testimony – basically saying that he was lying all the way through his entire hearing except for the part where he said that the president, according to the president, was not guilty of any kind of collusion with the Russians.
“And so it was sort of a very Trumpian response.
But as Ryan Saavedra of Daily Wire pointed out, not all the White House press corps was ignored.
“CNN’s Jim Acosta complains Trump didn’t call on U.S. press: ‘He was calling on reporters from Russian state media, Chinese state media, Sean Hannity from FOX.’ Trump called on reporters from ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, Fox News, NPR, NYT, Washington Post.
“Acosta is mad he did not get called on,” Saavedra wrote.
The press conference began with a question from Major Garrett of CBS, who asked if the process had been more difficult than he expected, then added follow-ups on whether there will be a third summit and whether the current sanctions remain in place.
That was followed closely by a question from Hannity, who asked whether it was Trump’s decision to walk away. Trump demurred, saying, “Well, Sean, I don’t want to say it as my decision because what purpose is that? I want to keep the relationship, and we will keep the relationship. We’ll see what happens over the next period of time. But as you know we’ve got our hostages back. There’s no more testing.”
Jonathan Karl of ABC then asked if he learned anything new about Kim and what was his response to Cohen. Karl did not pull punches. “And secondly, of course, while this was going on and the drama back in Washington, your former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who worked for you for 10 years, his office right by yours at Trump Tower, he called you a liar, a con man, a racist. What’s your response to Michael Cohen?”
Then two from foreign journalists on the substance of the summit and the relationship between the leaders now and going forward, a South Korean journalist asked about denuclearization, and David Sanger from the New York Times asked about reports Kim had added to his nuclear arsenal since the first summit.
Then two from foreign journalists – one about whether China helped broker this and another about what he expected to accomplish with Xi at their upcoming meeting in Florida.