That was one of a number of jaw-dropping quotes from U.S. President Donald Trump at an impromptu Thursday news conference in which considerable words and energy were spent slagging his favourite whipping boy, the media.
From the NYT (“‘I Inherited a Mess,’ Trump Says, Defending His Performance“):
… His 77-minute news conference was dominated by an extraordinarily raw and angry defense of both his administration and his character. At times abrupt, often rambling, characteristically boastful yet seemingly pained at the portrayals of him, Mr. Trump kept summoning the spirit of his successful campaign after a month of grinding governance to remind his audience, again, that he won.
For a president who has already lost a court battle, fired an acting attorney general and a national security adviser, and lost a cabinet nomination fight, Mr. Trump was eager to demonstrate that he was still in command. He attacked judges for blocking his original travel order and Democrats for obstructing his nominations. He denied being anti-Semitic even when no one accused him of it. With the latest Pew Research Center poll showing that just 39 percent of Americans approve of the job he is doing, Mr. Trump at one point plaintively pleaded for understanding.
“The tone is such hatred,” he said, referring to the commentary about him on cable television. “I’m really not a bad person.” …
Mr. Trump offered his first account of his decision to fire Michael T. Flynn, his national security adviser, for misleading Vice President Mike Pence and others in the White House about the contents of a conversation with Russia’s ambassador in December.
He said he was not bothered that Mr. Flynn had talked with the ambassador about American sanctions on Russia before arriving at the White House. “I didn’t direct him,” he said, “but I would have directed him, because that’s his job.”
The problem, he said, was that Mr. Flynn had told Mr. Pence that sanctions did not come up during the conversation, an assertion belied by a transcript of the call, which had been monitored by American intelligence agencies.
“The thing is he didn’t tell our vice president properly, and then he said he didn’t remember,” Mr. Trump said. “So either way, it wasn’t very satisfactory to me.”
But he said reports that his campaign aides and other associates had contacts with Russia were “a joke” and “fake news put out by the media.” The New York Times reported this week that phone records and intercepted calls showed repeated contacts between some of his associates and Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election. …
Mr. Trump spent much of the conference berating reporters and their news organizations. Clearly exasperated by coverage of him, he said he did not watch CNN but then gave a detailed critique of one of its shows. He cited specific articles in The Times and The Wall Street Journal that he called “fake,” even harking back to one from last year’s campaign.
“The press is out of control,” he said. “The level of dishonesty is out of control.”
He added later, “The public doesn’t believe you people anymore.”
The acrimony grew so sharp at one point that CNN’s Jim Acosta felt the need to tell Mr. Trump, “Just for the record, we don’t hate you.”
Here’s a quote collection from CNN:
“The leaks are real, the news is fake.”
“I was given that information, I don’t know.”
And more from Trump’s presser: https://t.co/AlQxoYcUoj
— Tim O’Brien (@TimOBrien) February 16, 2017