President Trump blasted the "out of control" dishonesty of the mainstream media during a Thursday press conference, accusing reporters of distorting facts to help special interests.
This is the most amazing presidential press conference I've ever seen.— Binyamin Appelbaum (@BCAppelbaum) February 16, 2017
Pres. Trump literally addressing the press corps right now on how to make their ratings "better."— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) February 16, 2017
At the start of a nearly two-hour announcement, which was meant to introduce the new pick for Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta and promptly turned into a fiery, at times rambling back and forth with members of the press more reminiscent of his campaign speeches, which covered leaks to the media, Russian relations, immigration policy, the final fate of ObamaCare and a multitude of other subjects, President Trump rejected portrayals of chaos in his administration and claimed "incredible" progress in his first four weeks in office, lashing out at media organizations he said "will not tell you the truth."
"I'm not ranting and raving, I'm just telling you you're dishonest people," Trump told the press.
Trump opened the speech with what Bloomberg dubbed a 25-minute tirade in which he pointed to the stock market’s performance as evidence of his early accomplishments and said news organizations work "for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very broken system." He mentioned that a Rasmussen poll found that he had 55 percent approval - Gallup’s most recent tracking poll found he had 40 percent support -- and said "the stock market has hit record numbers, as you know."
"I’m here today to update the American people on the incredible progress that’s been made the last four weeks since my inauguration," Trump said. "I see stories of chaos. It’s the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine." "There’s zero chaos" he claimed, and pivoted to Obama: "To be honest I inherited a mess," Trump said. "It’s a mess. At home and abroad."
The president then launched into a laundry list of issues on which he has claimed victories and progress, including border security, combating the Islamic State, job creation and a reduction of government regulation.
“In each of these actions I'm keeping my promises to the American people. These are campaign promises,” Trump said. He said the steps he’s taken in the four weeks since he was sworn in should surprise nobody, especially in the media.
But the highlight was his all out attack on the press :
“I'm making this presentation directly to the American people with the media present, which is an honor to have you, this morning, because many of our nation's reporters and folks will not tell you the truth. And will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that they deserve."
"Many of our nation's reporters and folks will not tell you the truth and will not treat you with the respect you deserve"
"Much of the media in Washington, D.C., along with New York, Los Angeles in particular, speaks for the special interests and for those profiting off the obviously very, very broken system.
“The press has become so dishonest that if we don't talk about it we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people. Tremendous disservice. We have to talk about it. We have to find out what's going on because the press honestly is out of control."
“In other words, the media is trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on pledges that we made, and they are not happy about it, for whatever reason. But a lot of people are happy about it.”
There was much more, including some of the key exchanges with the members of the press corps:
- He warned that bad relations with Russia could result in nuclear war, as a way of explaining his attempt to remake relations with President Vladimir Putin. “Nuclear holocaust would be like no other,” he said.
- He signaled that he was softening on immigration policy, saying that he’d deal with President Obama’s executive action unilaterally easing immigration law “with heart.”
- He said he did not “know of” any official on his presidential campaign having contact with Russian officials during the election, though he had to be asked three times before giving an answer.
- He said he’s instructed the Department of Justice to look into the leaks coming out of his administration.
- He conceded that the leaks reported on by the press were correct, despite claiming news organizations continually get things wrong. “The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake, because so much of the news is fake,” he said.
- He scolded an Orthodox Jewish reporter for asking about rising anti-Semitism in America.
- He asked a black reporter whether members of the Congressional Black Caucus are friends of hers.
- He predicted that the press would claim that he was “ranting” and “raving.” “Tomorrow the headlines are going to be Donald Trump rants — I’m not ranting and raving,” he said.
And some further details:
Trump discussed his popularity and how well the administration is doing...
Trump lauded a new poll from the conservative-leaning Rasmussen that found he holds a 55 percent approval rating, significantly higher than other recent polls.
Additionally noting that Mike Flynn "did nothing wrong"...
President Trump: "What Flynn did wasn't wrong." pic.twitter.com/FXUbVrXCcG— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 16, 2017
Clarifying that the economy has problems and they are Obama's fault...
“I’m here again to take my message straight to the people,” POTUS stated. “As you know, our administration inherited many problems across government, and across the economy.”
“To be honest, I inherited a mess. It’s a mess,” he added. “At home, and abroad, a mess.”
“Jobs are pouring out of the country — you see what’s going on with all of the companies leaving our country, going to Mexico and other places — low pay, low wages, mass instability over seas, no matter where you look, the Middle East, a disaster. North Korea.”
“We’ll take care of it, folks,” he reassured his audience. “We are going to take care of it all. i just wanted to let you know, I inherited a mess.”
Trump then slammed reports of his advisers and associates being in contact with Russians during campaign:
"it's all fake news."
*TRUMP: I OWN NOTHING IN RUSSIA, HAVE NO DEALS OR LOANS THERE
Some additional excerpts include:
“Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars”
"My administration is running like a fine-tuned machine"
"US 9th Circuit Court is in turmoil and chaos"
- *TRUMP ON TRAVEL BAN SAYS WAS SMOOTH ROLLOUT BUT BAD COURT
- *TRUMP: DID TRAVEL BAN QUICKLY TO AVOID PEOPLE RUSHING IN
- *TRUMP TO REVISE TRAVEL ORDER IN NEAR FUTURE, DOJ SAYS: REUTERS
- *TRUMP ON IMMIGRATION ACTION: TAILORED TO 9TH CIRCUIT DECISION
- *TRUMP: WE'LL SHOW `GREAT HEART' ON DACA PROGRAM
- *TRUMP SAYS WILL HAVE TO CONVINCE PEOPLE ON DACA SOLUTION
"The tone of media coverage is full of such hatred"
Trump: I'm changing CNN from "fake news" to "very fake news." pic.twitter.com/5ZRoDXdUNz— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 16, 2017
"I'm really not a bad person"
"I didn't divide this country, it was divided when I got here"
"There are two Chicagos - one is posh, safe; one is crime-ridden"
"Rep. Cummings said meeting Trump would be bad for him"
"I'm the least racist person, least anti-semitic person around"
"The whole Russian thing is a ruse"
- *TRUMP: SAYS PEOPLE WOULD CHEER HIM BLOWING UP RUSSIA SHIP
- *TRUMP: BLOWING UP RUSSIAN SUB OFF U.S. WOULDN'T BE GOOD MOVE
- *TRUMP: PUTIN MAY ASSUME HE CAN'T MAKE DEAL W/ ME
- *TRUMP: EASIER TO BE TOUGH ON RUSSIA, BUT WE WOULDN'T MAKE DEAL
- *TRUMP: I UNDERSTAND WHAT RUSSIA'S DOING MILITARILY
- *TRUMP: I MAY NOT BE ABLE TO DO RUSSIA DEAL; AT LEAST I TRIED
"Nuclear holocaust would be like no other"
Trump then touched on the topic of a Russian reset, which he explained as follows:
Here is Donald Trump talking about the uranium. pic.twitter.com/crp7WzEbVp— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) February 16, 2017
"I watch CNN. It's so much anger and hatred and just the hatred. I don't watch it anymore"
Trump: "I watch CNN. It's so much anger and hatred and just the hatred. I don't watch it anymore" pic.twitter.com/CM8BXiTVK0— POLITICO (@politico) February 16, 2017
"The leaks are real, the news is fake"
Finally, President Trump was called out on his 'alternative fact' about the electoral college votes.. "why should Americans trust you?"
Omg, reporter called Trump out on his lies. Oh. My. God. This guy is never getting called on again! pic.twitter.com/GEEfIo9V73— John Aravosis (@aravosis) February 16, 2017
* * *
Summing it all up...
From a buddy of mine out west. pic.twitter.com/Ru53cFkloh— Matt K. Lewis (@mattklewis) February 16, 2017
An extraordinary 75 minutes pic.twitter.com/9BaYyrphEU— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) February 16, 2017
Corporate media do not represent the people, they represent their shareholders...— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) February 16, 2017
The full "unorthodox" press conference below: