Have you ever had a job you loved, but one where you felt like you’d achieved everything you could? So you looked for a new job, went through a fairly grueling application process, if you do say so yourself, got the offer. Then you started the job, and you hated it. Worse, all the tricks you’d learned in your old job seemed to be pretty much useless in the new one. Did you ever have that experience?
The president of the United States can sympathize.
Donald Trump held the first extended press conference of his presidency on Thursday, and it was a stunning, disorienting experience. He mused about nuclear war, escalated his feud with the press, continued to dwell on the vote count in November, asked whether a black reporter was friends with the Congressional Black Caucus, and, almost as an afterthought, announced his selection for secretary of labor.
One of the few continuous themes through the otherwise disjointed performance was how little fun Trump is having. “As you know, our administration inherited many problems across government and across the economy,” Trump started in, continuing:
To be honest, I inherited a mess. It’s a mess. At home and abroad, a mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country; you see what’s going on with all of the companies leaving our country, going to Mexico and other places, low pay, low wages, mass instability overseas, no matter where you look. The Middle East is a disaster. North Korea—we’ll take care of it folks; we’re going to take care of it all. I just want to let you know, I inherited a mess.
Much of the press conference proceeded as an airing of grievances, as Trump unspooled his frustrations—principally with the press, but also quite clearly with the federal judiciary, the Senate, the Democratic Party, the intelligence community, ISIS, and whoever else came to mind.