NYT Trump Interview Makes Waves, But Did Reporters Go Too Easy?

Though an explosive interview with President Donald Trump conducted by the New York Times published Wednesday evening resulted in breaking news bulletins across the media and provided an inside look at Trump’s state of mind regarding current events, including healthcare, some in the journalistic community are expressing disappointment at the lack of substantive questions asked of the president—adding to growing concern about how the press engages with the current White House.

Allowed to ramble on in vague terms about healthcare policies he appears to know little about, the three interviewers were faulted for not holding Trump to account regarding specific aspects of the various proposals or the ongoing failure of Republicans in the Senate.

The president spoke about his frustration by the recent media coverage of the recent healthcare legislation which failed after the Republican leadership was unable to secure enough votes from the party, comparing the attempt to pass Trumpcare in the first six months of his term, to other attempts to pass healthcare reform.

He also acknowledged that taking away health insurance from Americans after the Affordable Care Act allowed 20 million more people to obtain coverage, was a difficult task. But his explanation of the details of healthcare policy appeared garbled, and based on excerpts of the interview, the reporters did not ask for clarification.

The published transcript of the interview shows no questions reflecting the disconnect between Trump’s supposed view that Americans should have health care, and his party’s healthcare proposals, the latest of which would take away coverage from 32 million people over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Dan Froomkin of The Intercept expressed dismay at the lack of pointed questions in the transcript.

Comedian and New York Times columnist John Hodgman also offered a critique, noting that allowing the president to speak at length is not without value — but that Trump should also be forced to go on the record about policy specifics.