To be fair to Trump, he isn’t the first American leader to block reporters from an international meeting. As the Washington Post reports today, President Barack Obama allowed only photographers to document his meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Wen Jiabao in Bali in 2011. In 2009, reporters were not allowed to ask questions when Obama met with China president Hu Jintao. “During a trip by Vice President Joe Biden to Beijing in 2011, U.S. reporters were ushered out of a meeting by Chinese security officials as Biden was still making his opening remarks, leading to a scuffle,” the paper reports.
If shouted questions rile Trump’s sensitivities, it’s well within his power to put an end to them. Trump’s first spray came when he met with Obama in the Oval Office in late 2016, just after the election. As reporters started shouting their questions, Obama, who hated sprays, offered his successor this free, on-the-record advice. “Here’s a good rule,” Obama told Trump. “Don’t answer a question when they just start yelling at you.”
Fat chance Trump will ever take that advice. Instead, he’ll continue wanting it both ways, basking in the eternal sunshine of the media mind when the answers to the questions come easy and banishing reporters when their questions make him crimson with rage.