Trump used an off-the-record meeting with top media figures as an opportunity to berate and humiliate them, the New York Post reports.
According to a source who spoke to Post, Monday’s meeting was a “total disaster” and “like a f***king firing squad.”
“The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down,” the source told the Post.
Another source said the meeting contained about thirty to forty leading news figures, including “the big news anchors from all the networks.” But if they expected Trump to respect them more as president-elect than he did as a candidate, they were sorely mistaken.
“Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong,’” the person said. “He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was network of liars … It was a horrible meeting.”
If Trump did in fact single out CNN for ridicule, he had reason to do so. Emails leaked by Wikileaks revealed that DNC chair Donna Brazile used her role at CNN to forward debate questions to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The network also reached out to Clinton’s campaign to solicit potential questions to ask when interviewing Trump and Ted Cruz during the Republican primary.
According to the Post, Trump also directed ridicule towards Martha Raddatz, who helped moderate the second presidential debate and also broke down in tears on election night due to Hillary Clinton’s defeat.
Since the meeting was off-the-record, only anonymous accounts of it are trickling out.
While the Post claims the meeting was deeply hostile, though, CNN’s own description of the meeting suggests it was more professional and subdued. A source told CNN that “real progress” was made in the meeting and that media members were able to express to Trump the importance of having a press pool around him. Last week, Trump outraged the media by sneaking out of Trump Tower to visit a nearby steakhouse without alerting the pool.
Kellyanne Conway, who managed Trump’s victorious campaign, told CNN the meeting was “very cordial, candid and honest” and “hit the reset button” after a brutal campaign.
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