President Donald Trump has made himself more available to the press in recent weeks than former President Barack Obama did during the past few years of his presidency, some White House correspondents say.
“I have probably had more opportunities to ask questions of President Trump over the past two weeks than I had of President Obama during the last two years of his presidency,” ABC White House correspondent Jonathan Karl told Politico.
Trump fielded questions from reporters during an unscheduled appearance in the Rose Garden of the White House Monday following a lunch meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The president answered queries on a wide range of topics.
“The president is taking questions much more frequently in recent weeks and that is a good thing,” Karl said. “There is no substitute for a formal press conference, but regardless of format, it is important to have the opportunity to ask the president questions and that is happening much more often.”
The media availability, however, was not as big of a story compared to the many fact-checks of Trump’s comments. Axios made a list of Trump statements that appeared misleading, or ran counter to prevailing understanding of what’s happening in Washington.
At one point during the press conference, NBC reporter Peter Alexander asked Trump to clarify his claim that former presidents didn’t always call the families of fallen soldiers.
“If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls,” Trump said. “I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it. They have made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Later in the conference, Alexander asked Trump how he could say Obama never made calls to soldiers’ families. “I don’t know if he did,” Trump replied, and said some presidents only sent letters to families.
“President Obama I think probably did sometimes [make calls], and maybe sometimes he didn’t. I don’t know,” Trump added, saying that he liked to do a combination of letters and calls.
Karl later reported on ABC that an Obama spokesman, “said that President Obama engaged the families of the fallen and wounded warriors throughout his presidency through calls, letters, visits to Section 60 at Arlington, visits to Walter Reed, visits to Dover, and regular meetings with Gold Star families at the White House and across the country.”
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