The following article by Terence Samuel was posted on the Washington Post website February 16, 2017:
President’s Trump news conference on Thursday turned quickly into a fireworks display of rants and recriminations as the new chief executive blasted away at the media, belittled his detractors and discounted the obvious chaos that has enveloped his White House.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done,” Trump declared at the outset, ignoring all the controversy that has consumed his first weeks in office.
He took a lot of questions, and many of his answers carried a kind of detached-from-the-common-reality quality to them. But one of the most surreal moments came late in the news conference, when Trump called on April Ryan, the Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks.
Ryan queried the president on his agenda for inner cities and asked if he had any plans to include the Congressional Black Caucus in advancing that agenda. Trump had a question of his own: “Do you want to set up the meeting?”
Ryan seemed stunned: “No — no — no,” she said. The president pressed her more: “Are they friends of yours?”
She begged off: “I’m just a reporter.”
After the questions about Russia, the legal status of his immigrant travel ban and the disarray in the White House, one huge question Trump has faced is whether he can bring some of the 54 percent of people who did not vote for him into his camp so he can govern more effectively. For Trump, black voters would be among the least persuadable of that group, but Ryan’s question was about the level of that outreach.
The odd answer spoke to the president’s detachment on how he might bridge the divide that is now a signature of his early presidency. A Pew Research poll released Thursday showed Trump with a 56 percent disapproval rating, a record achievement compared with the past five presidents.