Donald Trump used his first solo press conference as president to deliver a broad defense of his turbulent first month in office, denying reports of chaos within the White House and insisting his administration is running “like a fine-tuned machine.”
The press conference, which lasted over 75 minutes, was at turns combative and comical, with Trump alternately joking with and then lecturing the media gathered in the White House East Room.
Trump touted a long list of what he said were accomplishments, including withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, implementing a federal government hiring freeze, and eliminating government regulations.
“We have made incredible progress,” Trump said. “I don't think there's ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we've done.”
But Trump insisted he could have accomplished more were it not for what he termed the “mess” left by his predecessor, former President Barack Obama. “I inherited a mess. It's a mess. At home and abroad, a mess,” he said.
In what has become a standard part of the president's public appearances, Trump also took aim at the news media, which he accused of downplaying his accomplishments and making up “fake news” in order to damage his administration. “The press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control,” he said.
This week, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was ousted after it was revealed that he misled White House officials about the nature of his conversations with Russian officials during the presidential transition period.
Trump has also suffered a steady stream of legal setbacks related to his executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and shutting down the refugee program.
Trump also dismissed news reports suggesting members of his campaign were in touch with Russian officials during the presidential election.
Some U.S. intelligence officials have concluded Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election, possibly with the intention of helping Trump win. Trump has rejected those claims.