WASHINGTON – It was an unusual sight even by unconventional standards of the Trump administration. After President Trump invited Thursday a group of right-wing personalities and marginalized media to the White House for a "social media summit," the event ended with a former presidential advisor and a CNN political analyst in a lively exchange in the Rose Garden. .
The clash followed an event called a "press conference" in which Trump announced a decree directing US agencies to provide the Commerce Department with all available data on citizenship and non-citizenship status of all living people. in the country.
The Rose Garden event followed the social media summit and many conservative media personalities attended the meeting, sandwiched between the president and White House media outlets.
When Trump finished speaking, CNN political analyst Brian Karem and former White House deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka exchanged words on the line separating the two groups. Karem said something unintelligible that pushed Gorka to load through the garden and stand in front of him.
"You are not a journalist! You are a punk! "Gorka fumed.
Gorka turned around and left as the other guests of the president chanted his name.
A reporter from the White House press corps reprimanded Gorka when he left.
"You should not attack journalists like this!", She said.
Another man who was part of the media contingent invited by the president came to Gorka's defense.
"Just for the record, he would kick you punk ass," says the man in Karem.
Karem replied by shaking his head and walking towards the man. Security intervened and guided Karem.
The surreal scene was the culmination of a day when Trump released a long list of grievances about mainstream media and big tech companies. Speaking in the East Room of the White House, Trump told his guests that they "were fulfilling a vital role in our country … challenging media watchers and business censors to communicate directly the facts to the American people. " hour speech, Trump repeatedly suggested that there was a plot that prevented him from having more followers and viewers on social media platforms.
"There is no doubt in my mind that I would have millions and millions of people – I have millions of people, so many people that I would not believe it, but I know we've been blocked, "said Trump. me and they say, "Sir, I can not have you, I can not follow you."
Trump's comments echoed Conservative complaints that Facebook and Twitter are biased against them. However, there is no research to indicate that the content on the right has been systematically disadvantaged on social media platforms.
The group invited to Trump's social media summit included conservative activists, creators of memes and pro-Trump media personalities. A source familiar with event planning confirmed that the country's two largest social media companies, Facebook and Twitter, were not invited to participate. According to Vice News, the only social media network that has publicly announced its participation is Minds.com, a marginal site that hosts "several neo-Nazi extremist groups".
Following the president's remarks, the group visited the Rose Garden for an essentially inverted version of a normal presidential press conference. As a rule, when the president enters the rose garden to make an announcement, it happens under a sunny sky with a group of distinguished guests and the White House press corps sitting behind them. On Thursday, as Trump came out into the rose garden, thunder rumbled and dark clouds filled the sky above the White House. The mostly pro-Trump contingent from the summit sat on chairs and the accredited media were tugged and standing behind them. Some of the president's guests turned to the press to take pictures and make fun of them.
"False panorama of information," Gorka said, pointing his phone at the reporters.
In a White House where the administration has removed press points and removed access cards allowing journalists to access the building, the press conference in reverse had the following: the air of prophecy. It was a glimpse of a future where the president was leaving the mainstream media out there and instead was addressing a select group of admirers.
Yet even in front of his friendly audience, Trump's willingness to communicate with the media was limited. The Rose Garden event was presented as a "press conference", which usually includes at least two questions. The White House staff were apparently prepared for that, with microphones at their fingertips. However, when he had finished talking about his last executive order, Trump turned around and returned to the Oval Office without answering questions, even from members of the right wing press.
"Tell us! The real news!" Cried one of the president's guests in vain.
After the release of the president, both media groups headed for the exits and Gorka had his clash with Karem. In an email sent to Yahoo News shortly after, Karem said that the incident had started when he "had invited [Gorka] go talk outside.
"I did not think the rose garden was the right setting. But he understood that it meant, as he later explained, that I wanted to be physical, "said Karem. "My intention was never to provoke a physical confrontation in the Rose Garden."
Karen also said that he went to Gorka after their exchange and offered to shake his hand, but Gorka refused.
Gorka told Yahoo News that he had responded because Karem "m had challenged me to fight in the rose garden" and had asked him to "go out" and "settle that." He added that Karem was "a punk of a guy".
While Gorka withdrew as a result of the war of words, singer and conservative activist Joy Villa called the press at the White House.
"The false news is over, be real reporters," said Villa.
Villa wore a red, white and blue dress embellished with the word "Liberty". As she showed, Yahoo News asked her if she thought that freedom meant shouting after reporters. Villa says his only objection is "false news".
"Just report equitably. We want to love you guys. Journalism is a real art, "said Villa. "Do not report false news. Do not lie to us, American people. … do not just report bad things.
Villa's comment echoed what Trump himself had said to his audience during the event on social media.
"For me, freedom of expression does not mean that you see something good and that you are writing deliberately bad," Trump said.
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