The leaks are real. But the news about them is fake. The White House is a fine-tuned machine. Russia is a ruse. This is how US President Donald Trump launched an extraordinary condemnation of his critics, complaining he inherited a “mess”. He defended his presidency, slammed reports that his campaign advisers had inappropriate contact with Russian officials and promised to crack down on the leaking of classified information in a news conference Thursday at the White House. Many in the media termed his press conference as crazy.
Here are five quotes from his press conference.
1. Inherited a Mess
Trump indirectly took on Barack Obama saying that he inherited a mess not only in America but also in the world.
“But we’re not going to let it happen, because I’m here again to take my message straight to the people. As you know, our administration inherited many problems across government and across the economy. To be honest, I inherited a mess — it’s a mess — at home and abroad. A mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country. You see what’s going on with all of the companies leaving our country, going to Mexico and other places — low-pay, low-wages. Mass instability overseas, no matter where you look. The Middle East, a disaster. North Korea — we’ll take care of it, folks. We’re going to take care of it all. I just want to let you know I inherited a mess.
I have directed our defense community, headed by our great general, now Secretary Mattis — he’s over there now, working very hard — to submit a plan for the defeat of ISIS, a group that celebrates the murder and torture of innocent people in large sections of the world. It used to be a small group, and now it’s in large sections of the world. They’ve spread like cancer. ISIS has spread like cancer. Another mess I inherited.”
2. Administration ‘running like a ‘fine-tuned machine’
Trump asserted that his administration is “running like a fine-tuned machine” and there is “no chaos” inside the White House as being reported by, what he called, the “dishonest” media.
3. Takes on Press
In nearly an hour and a half at the podium, Trump took on the press. He said:
“The media is trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on pledges that we made, and they’re not happy about it for whatever reason. As a result, the media is going through what they have to go through to oftentimes distort — not all the time — and some of the media is fantastic, I have to say; they’re honest and fantastic. But much of it is not — the distortion.
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I just see many, many untruthful things. I tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know the word ‘tone’. The tone is such hatred. I’m really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such — I do get good ratings, you have to admit that. The tone is such hatred,” he told CNN’s White House correspondent. 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, despite the fact that I can’t get my Cabinet approved.
So we have a wonderful group of people that’s working very hard, that’s being very much misrepresented about, and we can’t let that happen.”
4. Leak of classified information
During the news conference, Trump publicly vented out his anger and frustration at the leaks of classified information including his own conversation with some of the top leaders of the world. He said the information about his conversation with heads of States of Mexico and Australia was leaked which prompted him to demand the resignation of his national security advisor Michael Flynn.
“I ran for President to represent the citizens of our country. I am here to change the broken system so it serves their families and their communities well. I am talking, and really talking, on this very entrenched power structure, and what we’re doing is we’re talking about the power structure, we’re talking about its entrenchment.
All this information gets put into the ‘Washington Post’ and gets put into the ‘New York Times’ and I’m saying ‘what’s going to happen when I’m dealing on the Middle East? What’s going to happen when I’m dealing with really, really important subjects like North Korea? We got to stop it. That’s why it’s a criminal penalty,” Trump said.
5. On Putin
Asked if Putin was testing him, Trump said he did not think so. Trump said he wanted to do right thing for the world.
“No, I don’t think so. I think Putin probably assumes that he can’t make a deal with me anymore because politically it would be unpopular for a politician to make a deal. I can’t believe I’m saying I’m a politician, but I guess that’s what I am now. It would be much easier for me to be tough on Russia, but then we’re not going to make a deal. To be honest, secondarily, I want to do the right thing for the world. If Russia and the United States actually got together and got along – and don’t forget, we’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. There’s no up-side. And anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it, nuclear holocaust would be like no other. They’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are we. If we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump said.
(With inputs from Agencies, White House Press)