Aug 23, 2017

"Damned dishonest": Trump calls media un-American

Alex Brandon / AP

Speaking to the American Legion national convention in Reno today, according to prepared remarks provided to Axios AM, President Trump will declare that it's "time to heal the wounds that have divided us."

  • But in Phoenix last night, consumed by grievance, he unleashed some of the most divisive and deceptive attacks against the media in presidential history.
  • He accused the media of fanning the flames of racist protest, being anti-American, trying to erase our heritage, and then turning off cameras during his speech to hide his truth (it was all being carried live).
  • It was as if Trump, who was introduced by Vice President Pence, was taunting the rowdy crowd to turn on reporters.

Blaming "damned dishonest" reporters for the racial tension in America, he dramatically reread his past statements on Charlottesville — but omitted the "many sides" and "both sides" assertions that drew criticism even from top Republicans.

After the rally, police broke up protest crowds with tear gas, pepper spray, stun grenades and rubber bullets. (Video.)

The raucous crowd interrupted him with chants: "USA! USA! USA! ... CNN sucks! CNN sucks! CNN sucks! ... Build that wall! Build that wall! Build that wall!"

Trump said: "CNN does not want its falling viewership to watch what I'm saying tonight, I can tell you." But his remarks were being carried live on both CNN and CNN International (which we get on Fios here at the Axios AM Executive Residence).

Trump made lots of news:

  • "Believe me, if we have to close down our government, we're building that wall."
  • May pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio: "I'll make a prediction. I think he's going to be just fine, OK (APPLAUSE) ... But I won't do it tonight."
  • "We will renegotiate NAFTA, or we will terminate NAFTA. I personally don't think you can make a deal without a termination, but we're going to see what happens, OK? ... You're in good hands, I can tell you."
  • On the CEOs who left his business councils: "When it got a little heat with the lies from the media, they sort of said, 'Oh, we'll take a pass.' ... I remember the ones that did."
  • "But people are now calling me, people that have been, like, 'we'll take a pass': 'Don, can we get together for lunch? Let's do it privately, instead of through a council.' ... They are calling, and they're saying: 'How about getting together privately?'"
  • "I don't believe that any president has accomplished as much as this president in the first six or seven months. I really don't believe it."

More from Trump's 77-minute speech at a "Make America Great Again" campaign rally, ending at 11:25 p.m. ET:

  • "[V]ery dishonest media, those people right up there with all the cameras." (BOOING)
  • "But they don't report the facts. Just like they don't want to report that I spoke out forcefully against hatred, bigotry and violence and strongly condemned the neo-Nazis, the White Supremacists, and the KKK." (APPLAUSE)
  • "I hope they're showing how many people are in this room, but they won't. They don't even do that. The only time they show the crowds is when there's a disrupter or an anarchist in the room."
  • "All the networks — I mean, CNN is really bad, but ABC this morning — I don't watch it much, but I'm watching in the morning, and they have little George Stephanopoulos talking to Nikki Haley, right? Little George."
  • "[T]hey asked me, ... what about race relations in the United States? Now I have to say they were pretty bad under Barack Obama. That I can tell you."
  • On historic statues being removed: "They're trying to take away our culture. They are trying to take away our history. And our weak leaders, they do it overnight. These things have been there for 150 years, for 100 years. You go back to a university, and it's gone. Weak, weak people."

This fire will keep burning. Sean Hannity said on Fox News at 11 p.m., as he passed the live coverage over to Bret Baier, that his opening monologue tonight "will be directed at the corrupt media."

Be smart: Trump was on Sen. John McCain's turf, and called him out (without mentioning his name) for voting against the health-care bill — but didn't wish the state's most famous politician a speedy recovery from cancer.

Reporters at the rally say the taunting of the press increased as he ratcheted up his remarks. In this fevered environment, some journalist could get beaten, or worse.

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

More than 62,300 U.S. health care workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and at least 291 have died from the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday. COVID-19 had infected about 9,300 health professionals when the CDC gave its last update on April 17.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:00 p.m. ET: 5,589,626 — Total deaths: 350,453 — Total recoveries — 2,286,956Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:00 p.m. ET: 1,680,913 — Total deaths: 98,913 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

There are no COVID-19 patients in hospital in New Zealand, which reported just 21 active cases after days of zero new infections. A top NZ health official said Tuesday he's "confident we have broken the chain of domestic transmission."

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Tuesday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.9 million tests).