The measured and thoughtful commander in chief who addressed Congress on Tuesday night was a prime example of "the real Donald Trump," Ronald Kessler, a veteran investigative reporter and presidential expert, tells Newsmax TV.
"This is the real Donald Trump that I've been writing about. The CEO who is focused, who focuses on the goals, whose tone is moderate," Kessler said Wednesday to Steve Malzberg on "America Talks Live."
"He creates a caricature of himself on TV sometimes to get attention, but the real Donald, as people who know him on the inside will say, is quite the opposite. They are always amazed at his thoughtfulness, the fact that he listens."
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Trump appeared to strike a new, more presidential note for many Americans as he delivered a message of unity before a joint session of Congress. Vice President Mike Pence said it reflected the "broad shoulders" and "big heart" of the commander in chief that he serves with every day.
Kessler said he believes that while Trump is toning it down, the media will not.
"One thing that will not change is the so-called dishonest media which he talks about. I think dishonest often is an understatement. Sometimes it's real scam artists," he told Malzberg.
"I know from the inside from the briefing room that those reporters just hate him. They mock him among themselves even though they may be polite when they're asking questions."
An example of that, according to Kessler, occurred last week when he says CNN reported Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway had been "sidelined" from making further TV appearances.
"Even though she was scheduled to be on CPAC the next day it would be on all the networks and after the story ran she told them that she was scheduled to be on Fox that very same night. But no they didn't retract the story," Kessler said.
"Instead the reporter said, well this just shows what the White House does, they don't comment and then they create something to make it look like the story was false. In other words, because the story was false, that proves that it was true. This is what a real CNN reporter claims. It's unbelievable."
Kessler — a former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter and author of "The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents" — is also alarmed by articles claiming that Trump's Secret Service protection costs are out of line.
"Barack Obama spent almost $100 million on his vacations and that story was buried when Judicial Watch reported it," he said.
"All the presidents and vice presidents have had their kids protected. For example, Jenna and Barbara Bush went to Africa on a safari and the Secret Service went with them. You never saw any stories about that.
"[Vice President] Dick Cheney's kids, two daughters as well as grandkids were on protection and you never saw anything about the cost there. The Secret Service detail is with Donald and with the kids, go with him wherever they travel so there's no additional cost, it's all built in. It's just another way for the press to try to get even with Donald Trump."
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