In the wake of unrest and national tragedy, the powerful platform of the presidency gives our country's top leader an opportunity to soothe and reassure the country. President Trump's off-key news conference on Tuesday afternoon was a waste of one such opportunity.
Though the presser was slated to tackle infrastructure, Trump didn't shy away from answering questions shouted by reporters about the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville after his planned remarks. Setting aside the content of his statements, which were also highly objectionable, the president's visceral and familiar antipathy toward the media was uncomfortably palpable in his heated retorts to reporters.
In moments of national anxiety, a president's calm and measured response can go a long way toward healing. Trump's firm and unequivocal remarks on Monday, were they delivered Saturday or Sunday instead, would have been a good start.
Though Trump's verbal jostling against the press can be amusing at times, it falls utterly flat during conversations about white supremacy and deadly political violence. Frustration with the media is understandable, but it's not helpful for Americans to see their president frenzied, bubbling over with rage at reporters, when he could be exhibiting focus, composure, and a steadfast determination to drive racism out of our country.
Trump is not incapable of exhibiting the stoic presidential demeanor that gives Americans confidence in the country's capacity to weather political strife and tension. But he missed the mark on Tuesday.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.