President Trump on Sunday complained that he has been treated worse by the media than any previous president, including Abraham Lincoln.
Trump defended his frequent clashes with the press during a Fox News virtual town hall after a woman thanked him for his work, then asked why he avoids directly answering reporters’ questions during coronavirus press briefings and instead opts to “speak of past successes and generally ramble.”
“I am greeted with a hostile press the likes of which no president has ever seen,” Trump said, sitting in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial. “The closest would be that gentleman right up there. They always said Lincoln, nobody got treated worse than Lincoln. I believe I am treated worse.”
“They come at me with questions that are disgraceful, to be honest. Disgraceful,” he continued. “Their manner of presentation and their words. I feel if I was kind to them, I’d be walked off the stage. I mean, they come at you with the most horrible, horrendous, biased questions.”
Trump rattled off a list of accomplishments during his administration, all of which were unrelated to the coronavirus. He cited funding for the military, improvements to the Department of Veterans Affairs and operations to kill terrorists.
“All of the things we’ve done and yet we have a very hostile press,” he said. “I really appreciate the question, and I very much appreciate the sentiment behind the question. But I’m standing up there and instead of asking me a normal question, the level of anger and hatred. I’ll look at them, I’ll say, ‘whats your problem?'”
© Thomson Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump atakes questions as he addresses the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 13, 2020. REUTERS/Leah MillisAdvisers to the president urged him in recent weeks to curtail his appearances at White House coronavirus briefings, warning that his tendency to spar with journalists, defend his record and attack his critics was hurting him politically.
The White House in the past week has shifted its messaging away from the public health aspect of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 67,000 people in the U.S., and instead focused on efforts to revitalize the economy.