Maybe if the press put on a parade and an amazing theatrical performance at sundown in honor of Donald Trump, he would like them better. That is what China did for him, then Trump revealed how much he hates the press.
Trump was the first U.S. president to refuse questions from reporters at a major press conference in decades.
NBC’s Meet The Press host, Chuck Todd, tweeted:
‘China isn’t supposed to have a say about press access. Previous press secs used to fight with Chinese counterparts for press access when in China. Witnessed personally.’
President Barack Obama’s former press secretary, Jay Carney, called Trump out in this tweet:
‘I once had to tell Chinese officials that Pres. Obama would not show up for the press avail unless there would be a Q&A. They backed down.’
China, like Russia, has a long history of closing down the press. Even on Trump’s first trip to the country, the Chinese government censors scrubbed the event. The Independent reported:
‘Social media posts about billionaire’s visit as leaders dodge scrutiny “at Chinese insistence.”‘
Was it really China’s idea or was it Trump’s? The two men did offer joint statements as they stood at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, according to the Independent:
‘It was at the Chinese insistence there were no questions today.’
Later, Sanders said:
‘Mr Trump’s predecessors – Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama – all agreed with their Chinese counterparts to take questions at official press conferences, according to CNN.’
The previous U.S. presidential press interactions in China have been minimal. When Trump and Xi appeared Thursday, the Communist government called the event a news briefing, but the press got even less coverage this time.
President Obama met with Xi at 44’s 2014 conference. Things became awkward when a member of the U.S. press asked them about press freedom in China.
If it was not already a sore topic with China, it became worse. Chinese people live under a cloud of censorship.
During his meeting with Xi, Trump oversaw Chinese companies signing huge contracts to purchase U.S.-made jetliners, soybeans, and other goods.
Donald Trump has not been thrilled with questions from the press recently especially on the subjects of gun control after the mass shooting in a Texas church. He has not been keen on questions about Russia either.
In fact, Trump seemed to appreciate Xi’s attitude toward press suppression.
One of Trump’s unflattering comments made it past the Chinese censors. According to the Independent, the U.S. president said he does not blame China:
‘(About) taking advantage of America.’
Xi rarely takes reporters’ questions.
Chinese TV pictured Trump and Xi touring the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Yet, censors also scrubbed any internet forum comments about Trump’s visit to China.
China’s propaganda outlets, which includes the ruling Communist Party’s main newspaper The People’s Daily, posts filled the Chinese version of Twitter, Sina Weibo.
Then, China interrupted the comments function on nearly all of its posts. The government only accepted a handful of “carefully chosen” positive comments.
Free Weibo tracks government censorship. It found some of the deleted posts. One joked about:
‘The remarkable lack of traffic congestion in Beijing as Trump’s motorcade passed Tiananmen Square.’
Hopefully, Xi’s attitude toward the press has not rubbed off on Trump.
In the free U.S. Twitter world, one individual asked:
‘So let me get this straight…U.S. kow-tows to Chinese on press freedom, eh?’
Featured Image via Getty Images.