The president chastised coverage of his televised immigration meeting and called for a review of the country’s libel laws.
President Donald Trump gave the strongest indication yet that he views his current job as another reality-television program prior to a Cabinet meeting Wednesday afternoon. The Republican quipped non-sequiturs to reporters such as “welcome back to the studio” and praised the “ratings” his meeting on immigration received Tuesday.
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Trump claimed members of the media had called the meeting, which had been criticized on both sides of the aisle for appearing to contradict the president’s previously rigid stances on immigration reform, a “performance.” But he pushed back on that notion.
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“I consider it work,” Trump said. He added the meeting got “great reviews” and the “ratings were fantastic.”
The former host of NBC’s “The Apprentice” similarly claimed that television anchors had sent him notes of congratulations for taking the rare step of allowing the media to film the entire meeting.
When Trump first announced his bid for the presidency, one of the main talking points used against him was a lack of political experience and the fact that his name recognition came solely from his time as a reality game show host. Trump was able to overcome that obstacle and take the White House. Still, the president has received heavy criticism for his work, and work ethic, while in office.
Many believed the almost hour-long meeting and discussion with lawmakers Tuesday on live television was in response to criticisms of Trump’s intellect and purported fears his staff may have over his fitness for office.
The accusations were made in author Michael Wolff’s salacious tome Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House. The White House and Trump have denounced Wolff and his work, which also included accusations made by the president’s former chief political strategist, Steve Bannon, about Donald Trump Jr.’s infamous meeting with Russians in June 2016.
Trump appeared to make another attack against the media due to the book, challenging the country’s libel laws. The president has routinely fired vitriol at mainstream media outlets and previously made a veiled, ominous threat towards NBC’s broadcasting license.
“Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness,” Trump said Wednesday. “We want fairness.”
He added: “You can’t say things that are false, knowingly false and be able to smile as money pours into your bank account.”