Trump Defends Spicer, Comey Firing, Blasts "Unfair" Media Coverage
In an interview with Fox News' Judge Jeanine Pirro, the president touched on a number of topics and was not shy in blasting the "fake news" media for their "hostility" and "hatred" toward his administration.
President Donald Trump sat down with Fox News' Judge Jeanine Pirro to discuss a range of topics including his firing of FBI director James Comey on Tuesday, ongoing allegations of Russian collusion by his campaign in the 2016 presidential election and his views on press briefings.
Speaking with Pirro on Justice with Judge Jeanine in a sit-down interview which will air on Saturday at 6 p.m. PT, the host asked President Trump about the timing for his firing of Comey.
"Well, there's no right time," Trump said, echoing what he told NBC Nightly News' Lester Holt in an interview on Thursday. "Let's say I did it on Jan. 20, the opening, right, and that would have been the big story as opposed to the inauguration. I was thinking about it then."
The president went on to express his surprise at outrage from his opponents on the left. "I guess I was a little bit surprised, because all of the Democrats, I mean, they hated Jim Comey. They wanted him fired or whatever. And then all of a sudden, they come out with these glowing reports."
Trump went on to call the Democrats criticizing his decision "hypocrites" and cited the "hatred" they showed for Comey. "I mean, he gave her a free pass like nobody's ever, ever gotten a free pass," Trump said, before assuring Pirro that he was "on to other things."
When Pirro asked about White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who had been absent all week from press conferences before resurfacing on Friday, Trump defended him. "He is a wonderful person — he is a nice man. ... He just gets beat up by these people," Trump added, referencing numerous criticisms of Spicer, including his "holocaust center" remarks, Melissa McCarthy's impersonation of him this season on Saturday Night Live and this week's photo of him behind a bush after the Comey firing which went viral.
Trump went on to say he thought about doing away with having press conferences altogether. "We shouldn't have them," Trump told Pirro, who told the president he could not do away with such a longstanding tradition.
"But would you seriously consider stopping these press sessions?" Pirro asked.
"No, we'd do it in a different way," Trump replied. "We'd do it through a piece of paper with a perfectly accurate, beautiful answer."
Trump criticized the media for their scrutiny over his press conferences, claiming that coverage for President Barack Obama's pressers were on channels like "CSPAN and CSPAN 2."
"You see the ratings," said Trump. "Blowing away everything on -- just about, I think, everything, on daytime television."
"It's impossible for a person, or two people, or three people, who are press people, to cover every aspect of what I'm thinking and what I'm doing. And I think it's unfair," the president added.
When Pirro began questioning Trump about the Russian collusion rumors, the president was quick to label it "fake news."
"There is no collusion," Trump insisted. "We have nothing to do with Russia and everything else. But there is a question, was it Russia, who was it that went in and tried to hack?"
Trump stressed he wanted to get to the bottom of the issue and that his firing of Comey did not mean that he was putting an end to all investigations on the matter, though he did not believe any alleged collusion had affected the 2016 election. "It didn't change the election. So that's important. That's important to me. But I don't want it ever to be even a question again. So if it takes longer, let it take longer. But let them do the job right."