As he answered reporters’ questions at the news conference, Trump needlessly escalated his war against US intelligence, widening a dangerous rift with the very men and women whose reports will be vital to his day-to-day decision making.
Trump was also far off base in his rampage against CNN, calling it a fake news organization and insulting its top people. Unlike BuzzFeed, which published the memos themselves, CNN purposely did not.
Instead, it broke an important and legitimate news story
— that four of America’s top intelligence chiefs last week informed President Obama, Trump and congressional leaders that the memos were in wide circulation.
As one of CNN’s reporters on the story, Carl Bernstein, has pointed out on CNN, Intel officials don’t bring garbage to a president; they only bring what causes them real concern. Anyone who thinks that isn’t real news does not understand the role of a free press.
There were other elements of the news conference that will spark more controversy in the days ahead. As impressive as Trump’s lawyer, Sherri Dillon, was in defending Trump’s efforts to avoid conflicts of interest with his businesses, for example, big debates are still ahead.
But what is now clear is that for all his strengths, Trump is bringing to the White House one of the most combative, intemperate personalities we have ever known. The press conference shows he ain’t changing.
This article was originally published on CNN.com.