5 takeaways from the Trump press conference

2017-01-12 10:29
(Evan Vucci, AP)

(Evan Vucci, AP)

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On Wednesday US president elect Donald Trump gave his long awaited first press conference. Here are the most important takeaways from the press conference, according to Tinashe Chuchu from the Wits School of Economic and Business Sciences.

1. Trump's war with the media is far from over

Trump's confrontational relationship with the media will in all likelihood continue. Usually reporters get their questions in during press conferences with the president, but he immediately shut down one of CNN's reporters, because he had a problem with the news channel's reportage. Don't expect much transparency from this presidency. He still hasn't relented on making public his tax returns and told reporters they were the only ones interested in seeing these.

2. Questions about Trump's relationship with Russia remain unanswered

There is a lot of secrecy around what relations Trump actually has with Russia. According to a CNN report Russia might have information on the president elect that might compromise him, but he denied this and called the report "fake news". The controversy around Russia is not going anywhere though. Trump's secretary of state is Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon with very strong business ties to Russia. It is hard to imagine someone with such strong business ties to the country will be critical of Russian foreign policy. This is problematic when that person is the US's top diplomat.

3. There will be business conflicts left right and centre

We can be sure that there will be conflicts of interest all over the place and that it will be dealt with in very innovative ways. Trump announced that he has handed over his entire business empire to his two sons. Usually, presidents put their personal assets in a blind trust and with Obama, who was worth $8 million, it was easy. But with an empire worth $4 billion and 50 000 employees all over the world it is not that simple. For instance, we have already heard that Asian countries in choosing their ambassadors and envoys to the US, are choosing officials who have interests in the Trump business to ensure a good rapport with the presidency. This automatically raises questions about the integrity of Trump's dealings with foreign countries. 

4. Expect to see more of the other Trumps

Trump's daughter, Ivanka, ceded all management authority in the Trump business empire and was standing in the wings during the entire press conference. From this we can fairly safely deduce that she will be involved in some way in the Trump administration. Ivanka is one of the people he respects and trusts the most and will most likely get a senior advisory position. Her husband, Jared Kushner, has already been appointed senior adviser to the president. Having access to high level national security like that automatically gives you a business advantage. While they will no longer be directly involved with management duties, the Trump empire remains a family business. 

5. A presidency of side shows

It remains to be seen whether the Trump presidency will be able to deal with the issues of the time. The only legislative priorities that crystallised were the building of the wall on the Mexican border (although no clue yet as to how this will be funded) and plans to replace Obamacare. The rest of the press conference, much as Trump's election campaign, was dominated by side shows. While there was a lot said about hacking and "fake news", he didn't speak to the real issue, which is the integrity of and his relationship with the US intelligence community. For the 36 hours leading up to the conference, the news cycle was dominated by his tweet about Meryl Streep. Never before has a president been in a Twitter war with a Hollywood celebrity. One can only hope he evolves past this into an effective president with the interests of the people at heart. 

Read more on:    donald trump  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

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