WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump repeatedly complained about unfair media coverage while defending his administration’s performance on Thursday.
“Many of the nation’s reporters and folks will not tell you the truth,” Trump said, echoing many of the complaints he made as a presidential candidate.
“The media is trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on pledges that we made, and they’re not happy about it, for whatever reason. I turn on the news and I see stories of chaos. And yet it is the exact opposite. The administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.”
The president’s remarks came at a news conference at which he announced his nominee for secretary of labor, Alex Acosta. But Trump spent nearly 20 minutes defending his performance and listing the accomplishments of his first month in office.
“I inherited a mess,” Trump said three times before listing his achievements, including pledges from companies to hire more American workers.
The president, who has been criticized for ignoring questioners from the mainstream media when holding his news conferences with foreign leaders, then took questions from reporters from NPR, NBC News and ABC News, among others.
While taking questions, however, Trump called recent stories about his campaign advisers’ communications with Russia “fake news” and repeatedly said the New York Times was “failing.”
“Russia is fake news,” the president said.
He went on to say “I’ve never seen more dishonest media than, frankly, the political media.”
“I never get phone calls from the media,” Trump added. “How do they write a story like that in the Wall Street Journal without calling me? How do they write a story in The New York Times?
“I can handle a bad story better than anybody, as long as it’s true. But I’m not OK when it’s fake.”
Trump had some other memorable lines from the lengthy news conference.
On how things are going: “This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.”
On leaks, news: “The leaks are real, the news is fake.”
On false claims about his Electoral College win’s spot in history: “I was given that information, I don’t know.”
On his own speech: “I’m not ranting and raving, I’m just telling you you’re dishonest people.”
On Obamacare: “Obamacare, they fill up our alleys with people you wonder how they got there.”
On reports about Russia contacts: “You can talk all you want about Russia — which was all a fabricated fake news … It is all fake news. It is all fake news.”
On former national security adviser Michael Flynn: “I don’t think he did anything wrong. If anything, he did something right.”
On why Flynn was fired: “The thing is he didn’t tell our vice president properly and then he said he didn’t remember … that just wasn’t acceptable to me.”
On an alternative career: “I’d be a pretty good reporter.”