President Trump snapped at Reuters White House reporter Jeff Mason during a Thanksgiving Day press conference. The atmosphere became a little more tense than usual between the press and the president when Trump took Mason to task for rudely interrupting the president mid-sentence. Trump scolded Mason as a father would scold a child.
Keep in mind that this was the first opportunity for White House reporters to ask the president questions since the election. They were more than ready to ask about the election results and when Trump thinks he will concede the election. Mason asked if the Electoral College votes prove that Joe Biden won the election, will Trump concede? Trump launched into familiar rhetoric about election fraud and a rigged election. He wanted to make sure Mason and the other reporters understood that he won the election, no matter what the Electoral College determines. It would be “a mistake” if they declare Biden the winner. Mason interrupted Trump and Trump wasn’t having it.
Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason asked Trump whether he would think about conceding the election when the Electoral College votes for Joe Biden, to which Trump responded, “Well if they do, they made a mistake, because this election was a fraud.”
“Just so you understand, this election was a fraud,” he continued. “So no, I can’t say that at all. I think it’s a possibility… they’re trying to, look, between you people…”
As Mason started to talk over Trump in an attempt to ask his question again, Trump snapped.
“Don’t talk to me that way,” he protested. “You’re just a lightweight. Don’t talk to me that way. Don’t talk to…”
“I’m the President of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the president that way,” Trump continued, before concluding, “Alright, I’m going to go with another question.”
Trump Snaps at Reporter Jeff Mason at Thanksgiving Presser https://t.co/PO5X320llM
— Julie Mason (@juliemason) November 27, 2020
Just for the record, I can totally understand Trump’s frustration that he is so disrespectfully treated during press conferences. The old days of showing respect while still asking tough questions to the president are long gone. Today’s journalists raise their voices to the president, ask him about lying, argue with his answers, and interrupt his sentences as though their opinions are more important than those of the person of which they are paid to ask questions. There’s been finger pointing from journalists at both the president and the press secretary during questions. Simple, professional behavior is gone for most journalists. Maybe they all just forgot how to do their jobs in a professional manner during the long eight-year nap when the Obama-Biden administration was in the White House.
Trump takes criticism personally and is quick to name call, especially toward journalists. He calls them the enemy of the people and that is not a feeling that is unknown to conservatives. Because he calls them out, they take that to mean they, too, can escalate their behavior. It’s a vicious circle. Yesterday, when Trump took questions after a Thanksgiving call to wish military members a good holiday and thank them for their service, questions about Trump’s timing of his concession of the election and if he will leave the White House on January 20, 2021 were top priority. Mason is normally a kind of mild-manner type of reporter but he, too, has taken a more abrasive approach in recent weeks.
This wasn’t the first time Trump has schooled Mason. Back in October Trump chided Mason for wearing a face mask during a White House briefing. The official order that all journalists must wear a face mask in the room had not been issued yet but Mason and a few others were wearing them. Trump had difficulty understanding Mason’s question and told him to remove his mask. Mason took a pass on that and so Trump mocked him by saying Mason was only wearing a mask to be politically correct. Mason, along with the other White House reporters, didn’t wear face masks when they were first recommended as the pandemic began to spread in the U.S. They all abided by the daily White House routine of taking temperatures of journalists before being allowed into the press room for a briefing.
Yes, Trump told a different reporter, he will leave the White House on January 20, 2021, if Biden is officially declared the winner. Trump’s opponents and their cohorts in the press have a fantasy wish that Trump will refuse to leave the White House and have to be dragged out of the Oval Office by the U.S. military or something. They really want to see that. The military has already said that will not happen but it doesn’t stop the fever dream.
Fellow reporters and cable television news anchors came to Mason’s defense.
The excellent journalist @jeffmason1 is on the other end of this spectacle.
Jeff will still be working at the White House after January 20, 2021. https://t.co/OJoGCvzUrG
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 27, 2020
This was in response to a question about whether he would concede, and a follow-up pressing for an answer, by the least-rude reporter in DC, @jeffmason1.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 26, 2020
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins posted a group photo of the reporters present for the briefing. Mason is the mostly bald guy behind her.
The crew that got President Trump to answer his first questions in over three weeks. Proud to be part of it. Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/1H1uBdxdG9
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) November 26, 2020
This all took place in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House. The last thing either Trump or the press practice with each other is diplomacy. I’m sure all of that will change on January 20. The press will suddenly become incurious about the new president’s behavior or actions. Manners will be exercised again. He’s one of them, a member of The Swamp. It’s all so cozy.