President Trump Calls London Mayor’s Words ‘Pathetic Excuse’

President Trump maintained his feud Monday with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, two days after a terrorist attack in the British capital.

“Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement,” Trump tweeted. “MSM is working hard to sell it!”

Trump, who also hit Khan for “alarmed” comment on Sunday, did take it out of context — the mayor was referring to the increased police presence in the city in the wake of the Saturday night attack, not to the attack itself.

Kahn’s statement in full:

My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today. You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this. We are the safest global city in the world. You saw last night as a consequence of our planning, our preparation, the rehearsals that take place, the swift response from the emergency services tackling the terrorists and also helping the injured.

The mayor has not responded to the president, but a spokesman told British media that Khan has “more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks.”

During Monday’s press briefing, Trump spokesperson Sarah Sanders said that she did not see Trump’s comments as “picking a fight with the mayor of London at all.” Rather, he was trying to make a point about national security.

[USA Today]

 

 

Kellyanne Conway Attacks News Agencies for Covering Trump’s Tweets

Top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway issued a new broadside against the media on Monday when she attacked reporters for covering things that the President of the United States says on Twitter.

Appearing on NBC’s Today, Conway knocked the press’s “obsession with covering everything [President Donald Trump] says on Twitter, and not what he does as president.”

However, co-host Craig Melvin called out Conway for knocking the media’s “obsession” with Trump’s Twitter feed by noting that Twitter is “his preferred method of communication with the American people.”

“That’s not true!” Conway objected.

“Well, he hasn’t given an interview in three weeks,” Melvin shot back. “So lately it has been his preferred method.”

Despite Conway’s assertions, Trump White House officials have often stressed that the president’s use of a Twitter is a way for him to communicate directly with the American public without having to go through the filter of the American media.

[Raw Story]

Media

‘That’s Just Fake!’: Sean Spicer Implodes While Sparring with Reporters About ‘Fake News’

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer got into a heated debate with reporters on Tuesday when they confronted him with President Donald Trump’s accusations about them producing “fake news.”

When asked by a reporter to list an example of “fake news,” Spicer pointed to one tweet by a BBC reporter that incorrectly claimed that Trump was not wearing a translation earpiece while talking with foreign leaders over the weekend.

When the BBC reporter realized his mistake, he issued a public correction less than two hours later, although this wasn’t enough to stop Spicer from chastising him regardless.

“On Friday, the president was having a great discussion at the G7 and someone from the BBC, and ultimately an incoming reporter for the New York Times retweeted that the president was being rude by disrespecting the Italian prime minister,” Spicer complained. “When in fact, you all in all of the meetings watched the president with that one earpiece that’s been used by all the other presidents… That’s just fake!”

Reporters in the room pushed back, however, by noting that the one reporter’s false tweet did not generate any stories at major newspapers and was quickly corrected.

“I was asked to give an example, and I did it,” a testy Spicer shot back.

When another reporter again pointed out that one false tweet from a BBC reporter didn’t drive news coverage for the president’s trip, Spicer chided them for saying the tweet wasn’t a big deal.

“Well, thank you, I appreciate it, you get to decide what is big and what is not,” Spicer said sarcastically. “A lot of things have been pushed out based on unnamed unaccountable sources that is very troubling.”

[Raw Story]

Media

On first day back, Trump lashes out at “fake news media”

Hours after returning from his first trip abroad as president, President Trump tweeted Sunday about “fake news media” and White House leaks.

“It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” Mr. Trump said in a series of tweets.

“Whenever you see the words ‘sources say’ in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names… it is very possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!” he tweeted.

On Sunday night, Mr. Trump followed up by tweeting that the “fake news media” disparges his use of social media “because they don’t want America to hear the real story!”

The president unleashed his apparent frustration as he faces a slew of challenges upon returning home from his nine-day trip to Europe and the Middle East.

[CBS News]

 

 

 

 

 

Tillerson Holds a Press Conference Without U.S. Media

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a news conference with the Saudi foreign minister in Riyadh on Sunday, but he left the American media behind.

State Department spokesperson R.C. Hammond said Tillerson — who was traveling with Donald Trump on his first foreign trip as president — was invited at the last minute to participate in a news conference with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir. Only foreign media were invited.

“Regrettably, there was not enough time to alert or make arrangements for U.S. media to participate. Under different circumstances, U.S. media would have been alerted,” Hammond said, in a rare admission of an error by the administration. “Steps were immediately taken to ensure a transcript could be produced and distributed to reporters. Ideally, members of the U.S. press corps should have had the option to attend the press conference and ask questions.”

Tillerson and Jubeir had taken a few questions from U.S. reporters on the trip on Saturday. Tillerson is also now expected to speak to reporters on Air Force One en route to Israel on Monday.

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said U.S. reporters “were not excluded at all” and that Tillerson had agreed to join the news conference “on the spot.”

A rushed transcript by the Daily Mail’s David Martosko was sent out to the White House pool on Sunday, transcribed from Saudi TV. The State Department later sent out an official transcript to the entire press corps.

The U.S. secretary of state has at times had a strained relationship with the reporters who cover him. The State Department has not been holding regular daily press briefings, as previous administrations did, and on his first trip to Asia, Tillerson did not take any pool reporters, instead cherry-picking a White House reporter from the conservative-leaning viral news site Independent Journal Review for an exclusive interview.

The reporter did not act as a pool reporter, sharing material with other news outlets, but did publish the transcript of her interview, along with a longer feature piece on Tillerson. In that interview, Tillerson was less than enthusiastic about media access and said the status of pool reporters would be “trip dependent.” On his next trip, Tillerson allowed two reporters acting as a pool to accompany him.

[Politico]

Roll Call Reporter Says F.C.C. Security Pinned Him to a Wall

A reporter said he was pinned against a wall by two security officials in a public hallway at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington on Thursday after he tried to ask a question of a commissioner.

The reporter, John M. Donnelly of CQ Roll Call, said the officials’ behavior did not end there. They then waited for him outside a restroom, one of them followed him to the lobby and, under the implied threat of force, ejected him from the building, Mr. Donnelly said on Friday.

The commission said in a statement that it had apologized to Mr. Donnelly more than once and had told him it was on a heightened security alert on Thursday “based on several threats.” The commission did not respond to an email seeking elaboration about the nature of the threats or how Mr. Donnelly was perceived as a danger.

Mr. Donnelly, who customarily covers defense and national security issues, said he was at a public hearing hoping to speak to one of the commissioners for a story he was reporting.

The F.C.C. held a hearing on Thursday about net neutrality rules and when it ended, the commissioners fielded questions from reporters in an impromptu news conference. Mr. Donnelly said he wanted to discuss a different topic privately. As he waited in a hallway for one of the commissioners, he spotted Commissioner Michael P. O’Rielly.

“Commissioner, I have a question,” Mr. Donnelly said he began to say, but that was as far as he got before two security officials in plain clothes turned their backs on him, stood together and in a vise move pressed him into a wall for about 10 seconds as the commissioner walked by.

Mr. Donnelly said he is 165 pounds and 5 feet 10 inches tall. By his estimate, each of the security officials weighed at least 20 pounds more and were about the same height or slightly taller. Mr. Donnelly, 56, said he was not hurt but was incredulous about what happened.

“I tried to ask a question of a public official in a taxpayer-funded public building, and I did so politely, and I was treated as if I had thrown food at a commissioner,” he said. “There was absolutely nothing in my countenance that could be perceived as a threat. I think they interpreted that I was going to ask a question, and they were determined to stop it.”

He was holding a recorder, pen and pad and was wearing a press pass, he said.

Mr. Donnelly said he asked the men: “Really? You’ve got to block me like that?” He said one of the security officials, whom he identified as Frederick W. Bucher, asked why he didn’t ask his question at the news conference.

The identity of the other man was unclear. Mr. Bucher works for the Security Administration of the F.C.C., according to public records. A request to the commission for an interview with him went unanswered.

Mr. Donnelly said the article he was developing was unrelated to the hearing, and he wanted to ask his question out of earshot of other reporters at the news conference. It is common practice in Washington and other government settings for reporters to ask questions or attempt one-on-one interviews outside a press gaggle to protect an exclusive story.

He said the officials were “up in my face” and made clear verbally and in their body language that they wanted him out of the building. When Mr. Donnelly left and sat in a wooden chair in the lobby, Mr. Bucher approached. After some back and forth about why Mr. Donnelly was still there, the reporter said he was told he would have to leave.

In an exchange on Twitter, Mr. O’Rielly, the commissioner, wrote that he did not recognize Mr. Donnelly. “John, I saw security put themselves between you, me and my staff,” he wrote. He said he “didn’t see anyone put a hand” on Mr. Donnelly but that he didn’t doubt his account. Mr. O’Rielly apologized and added, without elaboration, that he was also “freezing and starving.”

“I appreciate the apology,” Mr. Donnelly replied. “But ‘put themselves’ there makes it sound dainty. They pinned me.”

Mr. O’Rielly, who was appointed to the commission by President Obama in 2013, did not respond to an email and a tweet seeking comment. The F.C.C. did not respond to questions about what, if any, changes might be made by security officials after the episode.

Two Democratic senators, Tom Udall of New Mexico and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, sent a letter on Friday to the commission demanding a full explanation of what happened and seeking assurances that security staff would not restrain or threaten journalists in the future. They called it “a new low point in a disturbing trend” under the Trump administration.

Kathy Kiely, the press freedom fellow at the National Press Club Journalism Institute in Washington, said in a statement on Friday that the encounter reflected the current political climate.

“Incidents like these, occurring under a president who has openly threatened a free press, take on a greater and more ominous significance,” Ms. Kiely said. “And they do not seem to be isolated.”

Last week, a reporter in West Virginia was charged with a misdemeanor count of willful disruption of governmental processes after he persistently called out questions to Tom Price, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, in a hallway at the State Capitol in Charleston, W.Va.

But Mr. Donnelly, who is the chairman the National Press Club’s team on press freedom and is president of the Military Reporters and Editors Association, said he did not want to put what happened into a political context. “The important thing is not me,” he said, “but what is the culture of the F.C.C. that says this is O.K.?”

[New York Times]

Trump Told Comey to Consider Jailing Reporters Publishing Leaks

President Trump reportedly told now-ousted FBI Director James Comey to consider jailing reporters who publish leaked classified information, according to The New York Times.

One of Comey’s associates told the newspaper that the conversation occurred shortly after a joint meeting on Feb. 14 that included Vice President Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Following a terrorism threat briefing, Trump reportedly told everyone to leave the room except for the FBI director.

The source told The Times that Trump then began discussing the leaks to the news media and asked Comey to consider jailing reporters for publishing classified information.

According to the report, Trump also asked Comey to end the federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Following the meeting, Comey wrote in a memo that Trump told him, Flynn “is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

[The Hill]

Kellyanne Conway blames negative coverage on ‘sexist’ and ‘Trumpist’ media

It’s all about the “feigned pained look, the furrowed brow, the curled lip.”

Or comments such as, “That makes no sense” or “You must be lying” that anchors make anytime an advocate of President Trump goes on television to defend him.

Kellyanne Conway said that’s what television anchors and hosts have resorted to — all in the pursuit of going viral.

“They think it’s the job of the news media now, which it’s not, of course,” the White House counselor said Sunday during an interview with Fox News host Howard Kurtz.

Conway doubled down on her criticisms of the media, specifically on the level of negative coverage of the Trump administration and how the president’s surrogates are treated on air. The harshness and combativeness of TV interviews, she suggested, are attributable to “the quest to go viral,” especially “when there’s nothing else to say.”

“It really doesn’t help democracy and it doesn’t help the body politic because people are looking for the news,” Conway said. “They’re not looking for conjecture. They don’t care that something goes viral and a late-night host gets a couple of laughs out of it. The idea that people are so presumptively negative toward so much that’s going on.”

Her comments, it appears, were inspired by her combative interviews with CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo last week in the aftermath of Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James B. Comey. Cooper rolled his eyes in response to a statement by Conway, inevitably paving the way for a viral GIF of his eyeroll. Cuomo, on the other hand, berated Conway throughout the interview.

Cooper’s eyeroll is “possibly sexist,” Conway said, and “definitely what I’d call Trumpist,” a new term that apparently describes anything anti-Trump.

She added that the media — without naming any news outlet or individual reporter — has largely focused on criticisms while ignoring “the news reports or the facts.”

“It feels like there’s this conclusion in search of evidence,” she said, adding later: “No good comes out of it … having to hear all the blather and having to hear all the nonsense and the negativity and the falsities.”

Toward the end of the congenial and largely uninterrupted interview, Kurtz asked about Trump’s tweets and what the media is supposed to do when the president says or tweets something controversial, such as this tweet last week: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

“How do you not cover that as a story?” Kurtz asked.

Conway did not comment on the tweet and instead further criticized media coverage — specifically the media’s “obsession with every tweet and every comment,” while ignoring things such as job growth and the “amazing trade deal” with China.

“That’ll impact more people. it’s like, ‘Trade deal on beef with China. Yawn!’ ” Conway said as Kurtz chuckled. “That’s news. That affects people. That’s significant movement.”

Conway was probably referring to a recent government report stating that the U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in February and that the unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent, compared with 4.8 percent in January. A report the following month, however, had lower numbers. Employers added 98,000 jobs in March, the lowest gain in nearly a year.

The Trump administration also recently reached deals with China to ease market access for a variety of sectors, including beef and financial services.

Conway was a constant presence on cable news interviews in the months immediately after Trump’s victory in the 2016 election. Her appearances on Cooper and Cuomo’s shows this past week aren’t the first combative interviews she has had. The now-famous “alternative facts” comment was made by her during a tense back-and-forth with NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”

Her TV interviews have become less frequent in recent months. The hiatus has prompted rumors that she had been sidelined, and it led to a “Saturday Night Live” sketch mocking her prolonged absence.

[Washington Post]

Media

 

Unhappy with Comey Coverage Trump Threatens to Cancel Press Briefings

In a flood of angry tweets Friday morning, President Trump threatened to cancel press briefings as he continues to grapple with the fallout from his abrupt firing of his FBI director and the conflicting stories he and his aides have told about it.

“As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!” Trump said. “Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future “press briefings” and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???”

In a striking reversal one day earlier, Trump told NBC News that he planned to fire Comey even before meeting with top-ranking Justice Department officials and soliciting their recommendations on his performance.

“I was going to fire regardless of (their) recommendation,” Trump said in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, calling Comey a “showboat” and “grandstander” who led the agency into turmoil.

He also specifically brought up the ongoing Russia investigation. “In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself – I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,” Trump told NBC. “It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

These reasons contradicted the White House’s assertions — and even the widely disseminated termination letter Trump sent Comey — that the dismissal was based on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who criticized Comey’s handling of the email investigation into Hillary Clinton last year.

Trump’s statements raised even more questions about his decision to fire the FBI director who was running an investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russians seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election.

That coverage of the Comey story prompted the Friday tweetstorm from the president, who also continued to loudly deny that he or his team had anything to do with Russia’s hacking Democrats during the 2016 election.

While Democrats continue to decry the timing of Comey’s firing was a way to short-circuit the ongoing counterintelligence probe, Trump tweeted that is is all politics: “Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.”

In yet another tweet, Trump called the investigation into his campaign associates’ ties to Russia a “witch hunt,” insisting that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said there was no collusion.

[USA Today]

 

 

 

President Trump Attacks ‘Lunatic,’ ‘No-Talent,’ ‘Dumbest Person’ in TV

President Donald Trump says he thinks CNN’s Chris Cuomo looks like a “chained lunatic” on television. CNN’s Don Lemon is “perhaps the dumbest person in broadcasting” and CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert is a “no-talent guy” who talks “filthy.”

Those were just some of the comments Trump offered over dinner Monday night when asked about the media he consumes as President of the United States. But he did little to hide his frustration, explaining that he had been surprised that the journalistic criticism had gotten worse after the campaign. He also said he had been working on tuning out news that is critical of him.

“I’ve been able to do something that I never thought I had the ability to do. I’ve been able not to watch or read things that aren’t pleasant,” he said, maintaining that he no longer watches CNN or MSNBC. “And it keeps you young.”

There was little doubt, however, that he remained acutely aware of what reporters and correspondents were saying about him. He has large flat-screen televisions set up in the Treaty Room in the White House residence and in his private dining room in the West Wing. He continues to have stacks of newspapers and magazines delivered to his office suite in the West Wing.

“Washington Post, New York Times, they’re really, really dishonest,” he said, before directly addressing the TIME reporters he had invited for dinner. “You people are quite dishonest in all fairness.” He said he used to watch MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough but no longer does. He also claimed to have helped CNN president Jeff Zucker, an old friend and business colleague, get his job at the network.

The one network he praised was Fox News, saying he watches their shows and is responsible for its ratings bump.

Spokespeople for MSNBC and CBS said the networks had no comment on the president’s criticism. A CNN spokesperson said, “His comments are beneath the dignity of the office of the President.” Trump’s claims about CNN’s Zucker have been repeatedly refuted by the executives involved.

Here’s an extended excerpt of his conversation with TIME:

For instance I don’t watch CNN. I don’t watch MSNBC. Scarborough used to treat me great. But because I don’t do interviews and stuff and want to … He went the other way. Which is fine. He’s got some problems. But I don’t watch the show anymore. It drives him crazy. I don’t watch the show.

I do watch Fox in the morning, and their ratings have gone through the roof because everyone knows I’m watching Fox. But they’re pleasant. And if I do something wrong they report on it. I don’t mean they – if I do something wrong. But it’s really, honestly it’s the most accurate.

CNN in the morning, Chris Cuomo, he’s sitting there like a chained lunatic. He’s like a boiler ready to explode, the level of hatred. And the entire, you know the entire CNN platform is that way. This Don Lemon who’s perhaps the dumbest person in broadcasting, Don Lemon at night it’s like – sometimes they’ll have a guest who by mistake will say something good. And they’ll start screaming, we’re going to commercial. They cut him off. Remember?

I’ve seen things where by mistake somebody they bring in a guest and it turns out to be a positive. And they go, I mean they get just killed. The level of hatred. And poor Jeffrey Lord. I love Jeffrey Lord. But sometimes he’s sitting there with eight unknown killers that nobody ever heard of. And CNN actually is not doing nearly as well as others. They’re all doing well because of me. But it’s not doing as well as others that are doing better actually. But Fox treats me very fairly. MSNBC is ridiculous. It’s just bad.

It’s an ability I never thought I’d have. I never thought I’d have the ability to say, they’re doing a big story on me on CNN and I won’t watch it. And it’s amazing, it doesn’t matter. But it really, the equilibrium is much better. As far as newspapers and things, I glance at them. They’re really dishonest. I mean they’re really dishonest.

Trump also brought up The Late Show host Stephen Colbert’s blistering and crude May 1 monologue, in which the comedian delivered an oral-sex joke about the president and Russian President Vladimir Putin:

You see a no-talent guy like Colbert. There’s nothing funny about what he says. And what he says is filthy. And you have kids watching. And it only builds up my base. It only helps me, people like him. The guy was dying. By the way they were going to take him off television, then he started attacking me and he started doing better. But his show was dying. I’ve done his show. … But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high—highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.

(h/t Time)

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