Tom Hanks gifts espresso machine to White House press corps because 'those poor b******* need coffee'

Matt Broomfield
Tom Hanks has donated three coffee machines to the Presidential press pool since 2004: Getty

Tom Hanks has explained why he donated an espresso machine to the press corps at Donald Trump's White House, continuing a personal tradition which dates back to 2004, in an effort to help reporters "keep up the good fight for truth, justice and the American Way".

Speaking on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the Hollywood star said: "I've done that for Democrats and Republican administrations because those poor b******* need coffee."

The show's host replied: "I think this president might be keeping them up anyway."

Mr Hanks continued: "I have a feeling the problem now is there's an awful lot of spit coffee on people's laps..." He then impersonated a shocked journalist spitting out a mouthful of hot drink, gasping: "'Are you kidding me?' I think that might be happening."

The machine was accompanied with a typewritten note, addressed "to the White House Press Corps" and urging them to keep up the "good fight... especially for the truth part".

It was the third time the Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump and Toy Story actor has made such a gift. He first made a donation when touring the White House under George Bush's presidency in 2004, professing himself baffled at the lack of a decent coffee machine in the press room.

Returning in 2010 during Barack Obama’s first term in office., he reportedly asked: “How is it holding up? Do you need another one? I’m going to get you another espresso machine…. Let me see what I can do for the poor slobs of the Fourth Estate here.”

Earlier this year, a crowdfunding campaign to send pizza to newsrooms across the nation tasked with holding the new President to account raised nearly $8000 (£6000) in two days.

A mission statement for the campaign said: "There are awards and paychecks and recognition, but many times those forms of compensation fail to match the level of dedication and sacrifice that goes into the work."

But these stunts have attracted a wave of criticism for being self-indulgent, with the Washington Post's Mike Madden saying: "What a waste of money. Don't buy pizza for well-paid journalists."

President Trump and the mainstream press have been at loggerheads since the billionaire tycoon took office 100 days ago. His Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, used his first meeting with the press corps to lecture reporters for "engag[ing] in deliberately false reporting", and refused to take any questions.

This week, the President was absent from the White House Correspondents Dinner, in a near-unprecedented break with tradition.

The event normally involves light-hearted jokes from both the President and reporters, but President Trump refused to attend for the first time since Ronald Reagan was forced to skip the dinner following an assassination attempt.

White House Correspondents Association head Jeff Mason told the crowd: "We cannot ignore the rhetoric that has been employed by the president about who we are and what we do. We are not fake news. We are not failing news organisations. And we are not the enemy of the American people."