Then, without much ceremony, Trump and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis took their podiums, and the press conference began. As Iohannis wrapped up his prepared remarks, Trump, wearing a sour expression (though the glaring sun may have caused that), started surveying the audience. His lips pursed out with the characteristic pugnacity captured so well by Alec Baldwin. In person, he looked a lot of things—bigger, slouchier, squintier. What he didn’t look was in any way frightened.
The instant the remarks concluded, hands shot up and the press corps leaned forward. In that moment I expected to see Trump brace for impact, but his posture relaxed. He started to poke fun: “Come on, Dave,” he teased the reporter from The Washington Times who took a couple of seconds to phrase the first question.
Trump looked almost as though he were relishing the sparring match with these press members eager to interrogate him. “Look at those hands up there, President,” he joked to the other head of state. “Do you have this in Romania too? If I could only sell that.” Turning back to the media, “Should I take one of the killer networks who treat me so badly as fake news? Should I do that?” He pointed to a man who started to speak, but Trump interrupted: “Be fair, Jon, remember how nice you used to be before I ran?”
Before the end, he and Iohannis, who smiled and laughed and appeared for all the world to be delighted with Trump, seemed to be sharing an unspoken inside joke about the audience before them. Trump is certainly more entertaining than the average president, and as he recently admitted when addressing his Joe Arpaio pardon, he knows how to maneuver for great ratings. If the presidency were just a reality show, not only would it be a hit, I and others could sit back and enjoy the entertainment.