President Donald Trump on Thursday gave an extended, sprawling 77-minute press conference throughout which he had a common target: the news media.
After briefly announcing Alexander Acosta as his new pick to lead the US Department of Labor, the president launched into an extended tirade lamenting media coverage, particularly taking aim at reports of the leaks about the Trump campaign's relationship with Russia and Trump's calls with foreign leaders.
"I turn on the TV, open the newspapers, and I see stories of chaos, chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine," Trump said.
At Thursday's press conference, he fell back on similar attacks on the media, rattling off attacks on The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal for reporting on intelligence and law-enforcement investigations into his campaign's ties with Russia.
The president slammed the press, saying media outlets were "out of control" and insisting that reporters "should be ashamed of themselves" for reporting on the leaks.
"The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake," Trump said after being pressed on the matter.
As the news conference continued, the president began a running commentary of reporters whom he saw as sympathetic, versus those who asked him tough questions.
"I want to find a friendly reporter. Are you a friendly reporter?" Trump asked at one point. "Watch how friendly he is."
Before taking his next question, President Trump says, "I want to find a friendly reporter." https://t.co/FNDVCjmrlW— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 16, 2017
He also engaged personally with reporters in the audience.
Trump called on CNN's Jim Acosta, a reporter whom the then president-elect had called in a previous press conference "fake news" after his network reported the FBI found that Russian intelligence may have compromising information on Trump. The president remarked that the CNN reporter had the same last name as labor secretary-designate Alexander Acosta.
"You know, I looked at that name. I said wait a minute, is there any relation there?" Trump said. "I said, 'Do me a favor, go check the family tree."
Trump particularly took aim at CNN, claiming — without singling out any particular specific issues — that he sees "many untruthful things" in the network's reporting.
"You look at your show that goes on at 10 in the evening. That is a constant hit. The panel is almost always exclusively anti-Trump. The good news is he doesn't have good ratings," Trump said.
The president continued:
"When I go to rallies they start screaming at CNN, they want to throw their placards at CNN. I think you would do much better by being different. But just take a look at some of your shows in the morning and the evening, if a guest comes out and says something positive about me, it's brutal. Now they'll take this news conference — I'm actually having a very good time. Don't forget, that's how I won, I used to give a news conference every day. That's how I won, with news conference, and probably speeches. I certainly didn't win with people listening to you people. But I'm having a good time. Tomorrow they will say 'Donald Trump rants and raves.' I'm not ranting and raving. I'm just telling you people."
Although reporting on his statements and internal staff strife regularly provoked vocal outrage from Trump on the campaign trail, he's been equally outraged at the media in his first weeks in the White House.
Visiting the CIA, the president called journalists "the most dishonest people on earth" for accurately reporting the size of his inauguration crowd.
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