Donald Trump held an “off the record” meeting with several top media honchos at Trump Tower, including ABC, NBC (including its cable network MSNBC), CBS, CNN, and Fox News. A source told CNN’s Brian Stelter that ABC News anchors David Muir and George Stephanopoulos were in attendance, along with the network’s president, James Goldston.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, said of the meeting, “It was very cordial. Very productive. Congenial. But it was also very candid and honest.” Conway was responsible for setting up the meeting.
“From my own perspective, it’s great to hit the reset button,” Conway continued. “It was a long, hard-fought campaign. Donald Trump proved that he understood America and now he will be president to all Americans.” She also said Trump would meet with representatives from The New York Times on Tuesday and that the president-elect would be holding a press conference “soon, but he just has action-packed days filled with meetings.”
However, that is not how the attendees at the meeting described it.
According to The New York Post, “It was like a f*cking firing squad,” one source reported. “The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down.” A second source added, “Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong. He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was network of liars.”
Trump is starting to intimidate the press by denying the press pool access to him. This meeting is to further intimidate the media to bend to his will. He doesn’t want the media to criticize his actions. This is a call to arms for anyone and everyone who respects free press. This is a direct threat.