Jewish Reporter President Trump Told to "Sit Down" Discusses Heated Presser (Q&A)
"I was surprised," Jake Turx says. "Sometimes you have expectations and things work out literally the opposite way of what you thought it would be."
Jake Turx, a reporter for Ami Magazine, was thrust into the spotlight on Thursday after he was told to "sit down" by an irritated Donald Trump for asking a question about anti-Semitism, which the president rebuffed as "not fair," during his explosive press conference.
Since that time, the 30-year-old White House correspondent, who has worked for the largest orthodox Jewish magazine in the country for six years, has had some time to reflect on the interaction with Trump.
Turx told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday he holds no ill will toward the president and even understands why Trump lashed out at that moment.
Still, Turx wishes the interaction had gone better. He is convinced next time will be different.
What was going through your mind while the president responded to your question?
Well, what was going through my mind leading up to that was I hope he is generous enough to take one more question and he was, so I was extremely grateful that he gave me that opportunity. I was surprised. Sometimes you have expectations and things work out literally the opposite way of what you thought it would be.
After reflection and watching the exchange, how do you feel?
So, I actually hadn't watched the exchange until later that night when I was live on Fox News. And my reaction was, "OK, I am not sure how differently I could have worded it for next time." I explained [in the question to Trump] I hadn't heard of anyone in the Jewish community accusing him or his cabinet members of being anti-Semitic. Certainly a portion of the community voted for him for president. But I definitely understand and share the president's frustrations about the fact that he has been called anti-Semitic for so many years and everyone who knows him personally knows how close of a connection he has had with the Jewish people. Most reporters don't know of the president's charitable doings because he always made sure to do so quietly, and I know some of the stories personally because I know some of the people who have been helped by him. And for someone like that to be charged as being anti-Semitic for two years, that is just something he finds so hurtful that he has an extra added sensitivity to it that I understand and feel along with him.
What about the frustrations that he didn't address your question of anti-Semitic crimes among his followers?
So here is the thing, that is not even what I was asking about. I just wanted to know what he feels the executive branch of the federal government of the United States has within its purview to deal with this, and I am fairly confident administration members will sit down with our community leaders and try to figure out what they believe the government's position is and what can be done to implement any kind of change, whether it be to go more aggressively against anti-Semitism or perhaps tell the FBI to increase surveillance. And I believe that we will have closure in the coming days.
How did you feel about the president saying your questions was "not fair"?
The president was not saying my question was not fair, he was saying the questions of the last two years are not fair. And it is highly regretful that my question ended into that batch. When Hillary Clinton deleted 33,000 emails, I am sure within those emails was a phenomenal shortcake recipe that is now lost forever, but sometimes you'll have something good just be lumped in with everything else. But I am fairly confident, especially with the relationship I have had with the president throughout his campaign and his staff, that we'll be be able to sew this up. I have already spoken to a number of people within the administration, which I can't discuss on the record, but we have taken the right corrective measures, and I am confident that we will have closure in the coming days.
Can you say on the record who you spoke to from the administration?
I think what I said was really sufficient without saying any names and without saying any details. One of the perks of working in the White House is you are never more than a few yards away from the Oval Office and from the press secretary's office. So, if we need to seek clarification, we have that prerogative to seek clarification, so I reached out to them right away.
If you are spoofed on Saturday Night Live, who would you like to play you?
If it was up to me, it would be Alan Rickman, but obviously because he is no longer with us, I would settle for Natalie Portman, which first of all, if you are going to be put a beard on anybody, you might as well put it on Natalie. And second of all, the fact that she is Jewish, I think she could fit right into the role, and they are going with females playing males anyway, so I think this would be very much up their alley.