Donald Trump held his first press conference since the election at NYC’s Trump Tower on Wednesday, January 11. The President-elect discussed a range of topics including the shocking BuzzFeed report, his relationship with Vladimir Putin and how he plans to resolve his business conflicts-of-interest. See the minute-by-minute highlights from the event below. (Be sure to start from the bottom if you want to read the updates in chronological order.)
12:18 p.m. ET: Trump wrapped up his press conference after about an hour, and referenced the stack of papers that appeared beside the podium. “I want to thank everybody,” he said. “These papers — because I’m not sure that was explained properly — but these papers are all just a piece of the many, many companies that are being put into trust to be run by my two sons and I hope that at the end of eight years I’ll come back and say, ‘You did a good job.’ If they don’t do a good job, I’ll come back and say, ‘You’re fired.’
12:15 p.m. ET: Trump mocked Hillary Clinton’s symbolic reset with Russia in 2009, where she gifted the Russian foreign minister a red reset button as part of a new start in relations between the two countries. “Russia will have much greater respect for our country when I’m leading it than when other people have led it…I won’t be giving a little reset button like Hillary. Here, press this piece of plastic. The guy looked at her like, ‘What are we doing?’ There’s no reset button. We’re either going to get along or we’re not,” he said. “Russia, China, Japan, Mexico. All countries will respect us far more, far more, than they do under past administrations.”
12:13 p.m. ET: “I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press. … Somebody is leaking it out. I said, ‘Maybe it’s my office.’ What I did is I said, ‘I won’t tell anybody. I’m going to have a meeting, and I won’t tell anybody about my meeting with intelligence,’ and what happened is I had my meeting. Nobody knew — not even Rona, my executive assistant for years. She didn’t know. I didn’t tell her. Nobody knew. The meeting was had. The meeting was over. They left. Immediately the word got out that I had a meeting.”
12:10 p.m. ET: Trump had an awkward interaction with a CNN reporter. After he slammed the news station for “building up” the BuzzFeed report, a CNN reporter started interrupting Trump and calling for a question. “Your organization is terrible. Quiet. Quiet. I will not give you a question. You are fake news,” he told the reporter.
12:07 p.m. ET: The business mogul explained his tweet that compared the recent Russia report to Nazi Germany. “That’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do,” he said. “I think it’s a disgrace that information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public.”
12:06 p.m. ET: Trump said there will be a “major border tax” on those companies that are moving their plants overseas, and that the construction on the Mexico border wall will begin immediately. “We’re going to build a wall. I could wait about a year and a half until we finish our negotiation with Mexico… but I don’t want to wait. Mike Pence is leading an effort to get various approvals through agencies and Congress for approval to build,” Trump said. “Mexico will reimburse us for the cost of the wall, whether it’s a tax or whether it’s a payment. Probably less likely that it’s a payment, but it will happen.”
The former Apprentice host announced that after his inauguration, within 2 weeks he will nominate a Supreme Court justice. “On the Supreme Court, I’ll be making that decision, and it will be a decision which I very strongly believe in,” he said. “I think it’s one of the reasons I got elected.”
11:58 a.m. ET: Trump returned to the podium to answer a question about the timeline for him to repeal and replace ObamaCare. “You’re going to be very proud of what we put forth having to do with healthcare. ObamaCare is a complete and total disaster,” he said. “We’re going to be submitting [our plan] as soon as our secretary is approved — almost simultaneously, shortly there after — a plan. It will be repeal and replace.” It will be “far less expensive and far better.”
11: 53 a.m. ET: Dillon announced that Trump is going to voluntarily donate all hotels profits from foreign governments to the United States treasury.
11: 45 a.m. ET: The attorney, Sheri Dillon, said that the President-elect’s business interests will be put into a trust, and the Trump Organization will make no new foreign deals during the duration of Trump’s presidency. She also said that Ivanka will have no further involvement or management authority whatsoever with the Trump Organization. Ivanka will be focused on settling her children into their new home and new schools in Washington, D.C.
11:37 a.m. ET: Trump explained that the conflict of interest law does not apply to him as president. He then brought up to the podium his attorney, Sheri Dillon, who explained that she worked with him to create a new business plan for the Trump Organization that will isolate Trump from the company.
11:28 a.m. ET: He took the first question from a reporter, who asked about his alleged ties to Russia. He again slammed it as “fake news” and “phony” and added that a group of “sick people” got together to create the report. He explained that he will work on creating a defense system against hackers.
In regards to his relationship with Vladimir Putin, he said, “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability. Because we have a horrible relationship with Russia. Russia can help us fight ISIS, which by the way is number one … Now, I don’t know that I’m going to get along with Vladimir Putin. I hope I do. But there’s a good chance I won’t. And if I don’t, do you honestly believe that Hillary would be tougher on Putin than me? Does anyone in this room really believe that? Give me a break.”
He also touched on the allegations of his salacious conduct at a Russian hotel. “When I leave our country, I’m a very high profile person, would you say? I am extremely careful. I’m surrounded by bodyguards. I’m surrounded by people,” he said. “In your hotel rooms and no matter where you go, you’re going to probably have cameras. I’m not referring just to Russia, but I would certainly put them in that category.” He said the claims are not true and joked, in reference to that “golden showers” report, that he’s a “bit of a germaphobe.”
11:20 a.m. ET: Trump finally took the stage and started off by discrediting the BuzzFeed report. He then jumped around to several different topics, including car manufacturers keeping jobs in America, decreasing the price of the new Boeing-made Air Force One plane, and his inauguration day (next Friday, January 20) which will be “very special, very beautiful” with “massive crowds.”
He also announced that he appointed David Shulkin as head secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department. “One of the commitments I’ve made is that we’re going to straighten out the whole situation for our veterans. Our veterans have been treated horribly,” he said. “I think you’ll be very impressed with the job [Shulkin] does. We looked long and hard, we interviewed at least a hundred people.”
11:17 a.m. ET: Vice President-elect Mike Pence introduced Trump and also condemned the “irresponsible decision” of a few news organizations to run with a “false report.” He said, “Today we’ll get back to real news, real facts and the real progress our incoming president has already made.”
11:15 a.m. ET: Press secretary Sean Spicer took the podium to address the explosive BuzzFeed report from yesterday. He called it “outrageous” and “highly irresponsible” and dismissed it as a “sad and pathetic way to get clicks.”
There’s no sign of Melania Trump yet.
11:14 a.m. ET: He’s here! Donald Trump just exited the elevator alongside sons Donald Jr. and Eric and daughter Ivanka.
11:12 a.m. ET: No sign of Trump yet, but his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Kellyanne Conway, Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon were spotted entering the building.
11:09 a.m. ET: The crowd is still waiting for Donald Trump to arrive. Several large stacks of documents were just placed next to the podium where the President-elect will soon speak.
Original story below
He’s ready to face some tough questions. Donald Trump will hold his first press conference since winning the election on Wednesday, January 11, at Trump Tower in New York City. Watch the livestream, beginning at 11 a.m. ET, above and follow along with our minute-by-minute recap!
This is the president-elect’s first press conference in 167 days. He last held one in July on the campaign trail, and has opted to instead use Twitter and conduct interviews with select news outlets in recent months. Trump, 70, previously scheduled a news conference for December 15, but postponed it at the last minute.
At the time, the soon-to-be POTUS said he would discuss “the business, Cabinet picks and all other topics of interest” during the conference. During today’s conference, he will likely address how he plans to avoid conflicts of interest with his business empire and his staff appointments (including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who will serve as a senior adviser).
The press conference comes just a day after BuzzFeed published a shocking, unverified report claiming that the ex–Apprentice star has deep ties to Russia and that there “was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.” The report, which has not been substantiated and contains multiple errors, also alleged that Trump participated in “perverted sexual acts,” including allegedly hiring prostitutes to perform “golden showers” during a trip to Moscow.
The business mogul took to Twitter on Tuesday to slam the report, calling it “fake news” and “a total political witch hunt.” He added in more tweets on Wednesday that he has “nothing to do with Russia – no deals, no loans, nothing!”
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