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President Trump’s meandering press conference Thursday afternoon left beltway journalists sputtering to explain what unfolded.

The president’s remarks wandered everywhere from ISIS, to jobs, to, of course, the news media, eliciting stunned reactions from the audience.

Trump engaged in heated exchanges with assembled reporters, at one point interrupting CNN’s Jim Acosta to downgrade his network from “fake news” to “very fake news.”

We can all agree that it is not normal for the president of the United States to conduct himself this way. Whether you think that’s good or bad is not the point.

The conference was dramatic, unpredictable, unprecedented and kind of funny. In other words, it was vintage Trump.

After the presser, Business Insider’s Oliver Darcy reported that Jake Tapper said on CNN, “A lot of Americans are going to watch that and think: ‘That guy is not focused on me. I don’t know what he’s focused on.'”

I wouldn’t be so sure.

The president’s performance was plucked from his campaign playbook, embracing again the same style that so many people in the chattering class confidently claimed for months would cost him the election.

They were wrong — and I’m not convinced they’ve learned either.

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In the immediate aftermath of the election, still-stunned members of the media pledged to be better. Their reaction Thursday afternoon leaves much to be desired.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the press calling that news conference what it was. But it’s critically important for reporters to remember their reactions will not reflect those of others.

The Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito tweeted during the presser, “Listening to DJT press conf., in middle of PA and watching press on my twitter is like parallel universe — people think he is doing well.”

The Daily Beast’s Matt Lewis tweeted a text a friend from “out west” sent to him during the news conference that read in part, “I’m at gym. Everyone watching press Conference. They are laughing and consistently say he is eating them up.”

That people outside the beltway perceive Trump differently than Acela corridor journalists should not need to be repeated every single time he behaves like Trump.

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Before making assumptions about how the president’s style will play with the public, reporters should consider how it played with the public in 2016.

Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

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