At a "Meet the Press" roundtable hosted by NBC's Chuck Todd, three former White House press secretaries told Todd the new Trump administration will likely set an unprecedented, frosty relationship with the press.
"We’ve just elected a man who bullies female reporters at his rally as an applause line," said Nicolle Wallace, who worked as White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, The Huffington Post reports. "We have just elected a man who started a hot war with a female anchor instead of attending a debate she moderated. We are in a new place. And I don’t think it’s good. And I don’t think it has any parallels to the past."
The guests of the show's roundtable talked of Trump's tendency to use Twitter as a direct means to reach the public and his frequent putdowns of journalists and journalism.
"I don’t think Trump needs the press, but I think he wants them like an addict craves their drugs," Wallace added, Politico reports.
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Joe Lockhart, who served as press secretary for President Bill Clinton, said Trump is already breaking with precedent established by previous presidents within the transition period.
"We’re on opposite sides of the parties," he said, in reference to the other press secretaries in the roundtable, "but I think our transitions were really similar, because we shared a couple of things. We shared the idea that the press-president relationship was mutually beneficial. The reason people sit down in the briefing room every day is because both sides get something out of it."
"Traditionally, for the last 50 years, we've operated on the same basic fact sets," he added. "We're really in a place where -- we haven't seen this, I think, since the '60s with Nixon -- where they create their own facts. You redefine the past, which means you can define the present and future. That's going to be very difficult for both sides to come to grips with."
"It’s a double-barreled hostility," said Ari Fleischer, communications director under George W. Bush. "His press corps can’t stand [President-elect] Donald Trump, and Donald Trump is happy to return the favor."
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Fleischer blames the press, in part, for the current relationship with the upcoming Trump administration. Trump is able to tap into the public's distaste for the press, because "confidence in the press to report the news fairly has never been lower -- they have lost the trust of the readers and the viewers -- and Trump has widely taken advantage of it."