On Thursday afternoon, U.S. President Donald Trump addressed the media for what was supposed to be an announcement regarding a new labour secretary nominee. During the press conference that lasted nearly an hour and a half, Mr. Trump made a return to his formerly unscripted style. In an unusual move, the White House unlisted the press conference, making it less accessible for viewing. You can watch it and read highlights below:
Trump on Flynn: He was ‘just doing his job’
Mr. Trump said he had no problem with his former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador, and that he only fired him because Mr. Flynn had lied to Vice-President Mike Pence about it. Mr. Trump said he did not direct Mr. Flynn to talk to the Russian ambassador about sanctions imposed on Moscow by the Obama administration, but he said he would have.
Mr. Trump said Mr. Flynn was “doing his job and I agreed with him.”
“I would have directed him if he wasn’t doing it,” Trump added.
New executive order on immigration ban to come
When questioned over his immigration ban, Mr. Trump said, “I will not back down from defending our country. I got elected on defence of our country.”
“We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban. But we had a bad court,” he said adding that there would be a new executive order on the issue next week.
Administration is ‘running like a fine-tuned machine’
Despite the firing of Mr. Flynn and the messy rollout of his immigration ban on seven majority-Muslim countries, which is now suspended by the courts, Mr. Trump contended that his administration is “running like a fine-tuned machine.”
“I’m actually having a really good time,” Mr. Trump said at one point. “I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you you’re dishonest people.”
He said the problem is the “dishonest” “media.”
Mr. Trump also took aim at reporters during the conference.
“The press has become so dishonest,” he said, and not talking about it would be “doing a tremendous disservice to the American people.” He added that the “level of dishonesty is out of control.”
He dismissed a growing controversy about ties between his aides and Russia on Thursday as a “ruse” and “scam” perpetrated by a hostile news media, and denied any of his associates had contacts with Moscow before last year’s election.
“The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake,” Trump told a news conference, referring to media reports that his presidential campaign team had contacts with Russian intelligence officials.
Mr. Trump said he would be submitting planned reforms to the Affordable Care Act in the next few weeks.
“We’re doing Obamacare, we’re in the final stages,” Mr. Trump told a news conference, adding: “So we will be submitting sometime in early March, mid-March.”
Mr. Trump ran for the White House last year on a promise to repeal and replace the signature health-care program of his predecessor president Barack Obama known as Obamacare.