Since the last time Donald Trump held a news conference, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series , Fidel Castro died , Mother Teresa became a saint and, oh yeah, he won the presidential election.
A lot has happened in 167 days, and a lot of questions have built up for the president-elect, who will finally end his news conference drought Wednesday. I reached out to about two dozen journalists who cover Trump to find out what they would like to ask him, if they get the chance.
Some didn’t want to tip their hands, but nine agreed to share a question (or two) from their lists, on the condition that I not publish their names. The journalists represent nine different news outlets from the left, right and center; none work for The Washington Post.
The idea was to get a feel for what the press corps is most interested in. One subject came up repeatedly: Russia.
Here are the questions on reporters’ minds, as told to me:
1. “Why do you think President Putin wanted you to win?”
2. “Do you want to ban Muslims from entering the United States or just limit visas from countries with a history of terrorism?”
3. “I’d want to know more specifics on Obamacare repeal — how he would actually maintain coverage for people if things like the individual mandate are removed before a replacement is voted in.”
4. “I would probably ask him how his plan to stabilize the U. S. relationship with Russia is any different from President Obama’s ‘Russian Reset,’ which he mocked repeatedly. Setting aside the whole Russian hacking issue, we’ve already seen one attempt to normalize relations with the Kremlin fail miserably, and I would want to ask him what specifically he would do differently than Obama, especially since he made fun of Hillary Clinton mercilessly for the red ‘reset’ button she presented [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Lavrov in 2009, but his plan seems more or less the same than the one she was executing at the time.”
5. “Will the Justice Department under a Trump administration, with [Jeff] Sessions presumably the AG, vigorously enforce federal laws governing marijuana in states that have legalized/decriminalized pot use for either medicinal or recreational use?”
6. “Since the election, some of your aides have said that the media takes you too literally. You yourself said you were surprised that your supporters took you seriously when you said ‘Carrier will never leave,’ calling it a euphemism. Once you’re in the White House, should the press and the American public take what you say and tweet literally or not?”
7. “I’d want to know how he thinks he’s ‘draining the swamp’ when most of his nominations are wealthy business types and associates, cronies or family members. Also, what’s the thinking behind dumping the experienced and knowledgeable Charlie Brotman (by email no less) from the inauguration announcing duties in favor of a supporter?”
8. “I’d like to ask the president-elect about his relationship with the intelligence community and how he feels about using torture on detainees.”
9. “Does he fully accept the conclusions of the intelligence community report on Russian hacking? If so, why such a positive approach to Putin? If not, what does that say about his view of U. S. intelligence capabilities?”