When he was running for office, President Trump was a fan, in theory, at least, of the regularized, semi-formal politician-reporter scrum known as the press conference.
He tweeted to his followers on June 6, 2016: “Crooked Hillary Clinton has not held a news conference in more than 7 months. Her record is so bad she is unable to answer tough questions!”
In politics, as in everything else, there is the theory and there is the practice. As president, Trump has been almost entirely unable to walk his talk about facing tough questions — or softballs — from the media, whose scribes in turn report back to Americans the answers to their questions and the mood inside the room.
His first, and last, press conference as president was held a few weeks after his inauguration in January 2017. Since then, while he has indeed shouted out a few comments while walking toward his helicopter and responds sometimes to queries in what are called “gaggles” — spur-of-the-moment interactions with the small rotating press pool that follows him around and reports back to other news organizations — he has never met with reporters in an open session.
Having held just one press conference in his presidency sets a record for contemporary times going back at least to Lyndon Johnson’s administration.