The 45th president of the United States has officially been sworn in to office and has begun the first week of his term. Defying nearly all expectations of almost two years ago, the commander in chief working out of the oval office is indeed real-estate tycoon and reality TV star Donald Trump.
The oddness of that has not faded since the transfer of power on Jan. 20, and many of the concerns of those opposing Trump during his campaign have come to fruition in the few days since he began wielding power.
The president’s sensitivity to public opposition and unfavorable media coverage has not faded. The mere fact that the 2017 inaugural was not as well attended as previous inaugural ceremonies so irked the new president that he sent Press Secretary Sean Spicer to the White House press room to read a blistering statement excoriating press coverage of the inauguration crowd size. Spicer’s statement included blatantly false claims that the Trump inaugural ceremony was the highest attended and viewed in history.
This kind of disregard for easily provable facts may be a sign of things to come. This presidency will likely have little to do with precedent, and the press and public alike should be prepared to confront an atmosphere unthinkable a mere four months ago.
The press is going to have to devise a new strategy when confronting an administration that has no apparent regard for fact. Allowing a story like the inauguration crowd controversy, which is frustrating and odd but yet ultimately insignificant, to dominate the news cycle for multiple days is simply not going to be feasible over the next four years.
We are no longer dealing with an eccentric candidate overly concerned with crowd and hand sizes, we have a president who is actively signing executive orders, instructing Energy Department officials to refrain from commenting on science, and collaborating with a conservative Congress on legislation.
Facts should always be reported and officials should always be held accountable for their words and actions, but the press will have to pick and choose its larger battles with this presidency carefully. Trump proved over the course of the campaign that media coverage can have wide ranging and unexpected effects. A decades’ long fixture of New York gossip columns may prove to be a difficult president to cover.