After years of a mutually contentious relationship, President Donald Trump and the mainstream media once again publicly clashed during a recent White House appearance.
In response to a particularly pointed question from Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason this week, a heated moment was capped off by the president’s reminder of who he was addressing.
“You’re just a lightweight”
The exchange came after Trump’s conference call with members of the U.S. military stationed abroad for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Upon turning his attention to reporters gathered nearby, he began to take a few questions and spoke to some extent about ongoing assertions that the recent presidential election had been tainted by fraud and other voting irregularities.
When Mason, with whom Trump has been involved in previous tiffs, asked if the president would concede the race assuming the Electoral College voted in favor of Democratic nominee Joe Biden next month, the encounter soon devolved into a series of interruptions.
Trump initially noted that it would be “very hard” for him to do so given the alleged fraud, but Mason interjected as the president began listing examples of his concerns. Following multiple attempts to elicit a specific answer to his initial question, Mason crossed a line and clearly upset Trump.
“Don’t talk to me that way,” the president shot back. “You’re just a — you’re just a lightweight.”
“I’m the president of the United States”
Mason apologized but noted that he still wanted to get an answer on the record.
“Don’t talk to me that — don’t talk to — I’m the president of the United States,” Trump responded. “Don’t ever talk to the president that way.”
After Trump moved on from Mason, the next reporter he called on essentially asked the same question, albeit in a manner the president obviously found more respectful.
As for whether he would leave the White House if Biden is declared the electoral winner, Trump said he “certainly” would.
He followed up on Friday by continuing his assertion that Biden did not legitimately win the race, tweeting: “Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous ‘80,000,000 votes’ were not fraudulently or illegally obtained. When you see what happened in Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia & Milwaukee, massive voter fraud, he’s got a big unsolvable problem!”