NY Times And Wash. Post Reporters: Trump’s Press Conference Is Timed To Manipulate The Media
Yamiche Alcindor: "I Think If He Schedules A Press Conference When Mattis Or When Tillerson Are Being Confirmed, That Tells Me That He's Really Worried About Those Two"
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From the January 4 edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports:
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PETER ALEXANDER (GUEST HOST): Sean Spicer, the incoming press secretary for Donald Trump, said today that news conference may get bumped back yet another day to the 12th of January. That would be the same day as hearings begin for General Mattis in this. Is there something to the politics or the optics of holding a news conference overlapping with these hearings for Rex Tillerson or perhaps General Mattis?
CHRIS CILLIZZA: Yes. Look, Democrats have made no secret, Peter, that they believe Tillerson's financial interests, the extent to which they have been scrutinized, are problematic for him as well as -- sort of his relationships in Russia, and that those are two things that will come up and be part of what I think is -- will be a pretty aggressive questioning of him. Trump, whatever you think of him, you need to give him credit for understanding how people's attention gets maneuvered and manipulated.
A Donald Trump press conference would be the biggest news event, period, full stop of anything that would happen that day, short of the Super Bowl. And so I think if there's a concern about Tillerson and his performance, you would not -- or Mattis, you would not be wrong, I think, to put something else that could sap attention away on that same day.
ALEXANDER: Yamiche, what other confirmation hearings do we think will be those with the greatest scrutiny? I'm thinking Attorney General Jeff Sessions likely, who do you think is most vulnerable, perhaps, as we look at some of these Donald Trump picks?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: I think Attorney General Jeff Sessions. When I look at the NAACP and other civil rights organizations, they have already started to do sit-ins at his office, they are already very much being vocal about the fact that they think that he is someone that would not be the best person to lead that department. And if you look at the NAACP president already has been arrested just sitting outside of his office.
He's already had issues, the last time he was trying to get confirmed, when he was trying to go into a judgeship -- and he was rejected that time, because of these questions on whether or not he said some racially insensitive things to workers, and whether or not he was someone who would be able to be unbiased.
So, I think Jeff Sessions is going to be a huge fight. but I think that the -- we at the -- I agree with Chris in that Donald Trump really does understand the media and understands the attention, and I think if he schedules a press conference when Mattis or when Tillerson are being confirmed, that tells me that he's really worried about those two. Because that is true, that if he -- if Donald Trump comes out and has a press conference after four months of us waiting, even if Tillerson -- there's some big news about Tillerson's conflict of interest, it's just going to compete.