There’s nothing unusual about the US president Donald Trump courting controversy because of his loose talk and provocative comments. His divisive right-wing politics have often earned him the ire of the Americans, who are now lamenting their compatriots’ choice for Trump as the country’s new president.
President Donald Trump is corrected by NBC reporter after falsely claiming he had the biggest electoral margin since President Reagan. pic.twitter.com/a7K16mU0Pc
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) February 16, 2017
Trump had called the press conference to talk about his choice of attorney Alexander Acosta for the role of labour secretary, but he began to make tall claims about his victory margin during the conversation.
He said, “I put it out before the American people. I got 306 electoral college votes because people came out and voted like they’ve never seen before. So that’s the way it goes. I guess it’s the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.”
However, barely moments later, an intrepid Alexander intervened and abruptly told Trump, “Very simple you said today that you had the biggest electoral margin since Ronald Reagan, with 304, 306 electoral votes. The fact that President Obama got 365..”
A visibly embarrassed Trump interjected and said that he was talking about Republican presidents.
But the reporter was determined to call out Trump’s bluff. He said that George HW Bush (a Republican) too had got 426 electoral college votes.
He asked, “Why should Americans trust you when you accuse the information they receive as being fake when you are providing information that is fake?”
The reporter was hinting at Trump’s accusation against certain US media outlets, who he had alleged were busy publishing and broadcasting fake news.
Faced with an unending humiliation, Trump blamed his aides for the wrong information when he said, “Well no I was given that information. I don’t know, I was just given that.”
Trump has become hugely popular among the right-wing Hindutva brigade in India because of his anti-Muslim rants. His critics in India have often compared him with Prime Minister Narendra Modi because of perceived similarity in many behavioural patterns and personality traits.
But, what’s striking here is that in India Modi has never held a press conference by making himself available for questions from journalists. Trump, despite all his gaffes and controversial statements, continues to expose himself for public scrutiny.
Another highlight of Thursday’s press conference was that while in America, journalists continue to ask tough questions to their president, an overwhelming majority of their counterparts in India have now mortgaged their freedom to the ruling party for the want of uninterrupted flow of government ad revenue and other sources of lucrative income particularly during elections.
Not so long ago, a leading Hindi newspaper, Jagran, was found guilty of flouting election guidelines in favour of the Modi’s party prompting the law enforcing agencies to arrest the group’s online editor.
There’s little doubt that if an Indian journalist had challenged Modi in a similar fashion, the reporter in question would have been summarily shown the door as most appointments in Indian media, these days, are allegedly carried out by the ruling party.