Donald Trump Answers Questions from White House Reporters More Frequently than Barack Obama

US President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama talk on the East steps of the US Capitol after inauguration ceremonies on January 20, 2017, in Washington, DC. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump takes questions from the press more frequently than former President Barack Obama did at this point in his presidency, according to a new study.

Since his inauguration, Trump held short question-and-answer sessions 170 times in the first 465 days of his presidency while Obama only held 55 similar sessions at this point in his presidency.

But Obama outranks Trump with the number of interviews given to the media. Obama gave 187 interviews while Trump has only given 95 at this point in his presidency.

Obama also outranks Trump on the number of solo press conferences. Trump has only given one solo press conference while at this point in his presidency, Obama appeared in a solo press conference on 13 different occasions.

But Trump has appeared in 26 joint press conferences with world leaders, while Obama only appeared in 17 at this point in his presidency.

Here are the numbers collected by Martha Joynt Kumar, the director of the White House Transition Project:

President Trump: Interchanges with Reporters January 20, 2017 – April 29, 2018

  • Press conferences: 27 [1 Solo and 26 Joint]
  • Short question-and-answer sessions: 170
  • Media Interviews: 95
  • Total: 292

President Barack Obama: Interchanges with Reporters January 20, 2009 – April 29, 2010

  • Press Conferences: 30 [13 Solo, 17 Joint]
  • Short question-and-answer sessions: 55
  • Media Interviews: 187
  • Total: 272

White House reporters tend to favor more formal press conferences, where they are personally selected by the president, not forced to shout out their questions in a larger group. But Trump appears to enjoy the commotion of the scrum of a smaller group and choosing the questions that he wants to answer. Obama appeared to enjoy the more formal press conference, allowing him to speak at length without being interrupted.

“Here’s a good rule, don’t answer a question when they just start yelling,” Obama told Trump as the pair sat together for the first time in the Oval Office.

“He’s a very good man,” Trump responded to reporters as they were escorted by Obama’s press staff.

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