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Trump avoids dueling press conferences with Biden, cable news goes split-screen

Trump avoids dueling press conferences with Biden, cable news goes split-screen
Trump avoids dueling press conferences with Biden, cable news goes split-screen


Donald Trump rarely meets a microphone he doesn't like, but today the usually volatile former president gave up on being kicked off television by Joe Biden.

More than ever this election year, this morning it was a story of two presidents on cable news. Since the G7 summit in Italy and the corridors of power in Washington DC, respectively, Biden and Trump have almost clashed in competing press conferences. Almost.

“We'll attend either of these events live, depending on which one starts first,” Fox News' Sandra Smith said as the Rupert Murdoch-owned outlet overlapped on-screen setups for conferences press outlets potentially competing with Biden and Trump. “We set this up as split screen because they were almost programmed to speak at the exact same time,” Smith later added without metaphorical irony.

Seeing which president went first, CNN, MSNBC and BBC World News also jumped between the two empty podiums. While they waited, CNN called Trump's appearance a “press conference” on the bottom third of the screen.

In a rare show of discipline and likely mindful of the current commander-in-chief's upcoming joint appearance with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump declined to answer media questions after remarking on his meetings Thursday in Washington with the Republican Party members of the House and Senate.

Given that Trump's remarks after meeting with congressional Republicans today were billed as a press conference, the former Celebrity Apprentice host's quick exit was mocked within minutes by the Biden campaign:

Surrounded by senators and congressmen (but noticeably not Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell), Trump began speaking at 10:44 a.m. PT and stayed mostly on the teleprompter with a reiteration of his speech of stock.

“We want to make America great again,” Trump said as Republican Party leaders stood alongside their presumptive and third-convicted nominee. “We want to make our country great again. We are a nation in decline. We are a nation in decline. We are a nation that has been left behind all over the world. We have a leader who has been left behind all over the world. And we're going to turn things around. We'll turn around quickly. The polls seem to be very favorable to us.

Although he took some jabs at his rival, Trump did not mention Biden by name. He also didn't bring up Taylor Swift, who the former president reportedly spoke about extensively behind closed doors earlier Thursday. Trump also made no reference to the unanimous Supreme Court decision revealed earlier in the day guaranteeing access to the so-called abortion pill. Speaking for about five minutes, Trump emerged to applause with a thank you or two and a “we appreciate you being here.”

About 45 minutes later, following a White House statement on the SCOTUS decision, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke live from Washington about the abortion pill decision. “We must remain clear-eyed about the threats to reproductive freedom in America, and we must remain vigilant,” she said, with MSNBC cutting live to her remarks around 10:36 a.m. PT.

With a 10-year security deal set to be signed by the leaders, the Biden and Zelensky event was scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m. Pacific Time. It didn't start until 11:47 a.m. PT – or 8:47 p.m. in Puglia, Italy.

Noting the costly deals and security agreement signed by the United States and Ukraine on the sidelines of the G7 summit, Fox News' John Robert joked about the delay (not unusual for Biden events ) and on the fact that “things come late” in Italy. Minutes before the two presidents took the stage in Italy, the America Reports co-anchor added: “So this is exactly the right time to continue to make things official.”

Although Biden was not interrupted by Trump, the president's time on the international stage today was interrupted a bit when a plane flew over his and Zelensky's presser site.

Unlike Trump, POTUS and the Ukrainian president answered a series of questions from the press. The AP kicked things off by asking Biden about the Ukrainian weapons fire on Russia and his son Hunter's conviction for federal gun crimes in Delaware earlier this week. Although Biden complained that some journalists were not following “the rules”, topics such as the war in Gaza and the implications of the upcoming US elections also came up.

Biden and Trump are scheduled to meet face-to-face June 27 in Atlanta on CNN for their first debate in the tight White House race.




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