Trump Doubles Down on "Fake News" Claims, Says Media Plays "the Racist Card"
"I’m on the other side of the equation," says the president. "They call themselves progressive, which is a beautiful word, but it’s not true. I don’t think they like anybody on our side.”
President Donald Trump reiterated his claim of "fake news" in the media's coverage of him on Tuesday, hours after his adviser Kellyanne Conway stepped away from the phrase earlier in the day.
In the final part of their sit-down at the White House, which aired on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly covered the media's painting of the president as a "hater" and asked if Trump thinks he will ever get a "fair shot" in the press.
Trump, speaking about his daily routine, says he reads the papers each morning before tuning into what TV networks are saying about him. “I take a look, I see the lies,” he told O’Reilly.
"Some of the networks and some of the papers — they’ll take something that should be a good story,” he said, "and they will purposely, totally change it — it’s fake news.”
When the host asked why that happens, the president responded: "Because I’m on the other side of the equation. I just think that it’s just the other side of the coin. They call themselves progressive, which is a beautiful word, but it’s not true. I don’t think they like anybody on our side.”
Earlier on Tuesday, CNN's Jake Tapper asked Trump's adviser Conway about the same subject: "Are we fake news, Kellyanne? Is CNN fake news?"
Conway, stressing that she was answering only on behalf of herself, told Tapper: "No I don’t think CNN is fake news," she said. "I think there are some reports everywhere, in print, on TV, in radio, in conversation that are not well-researched and that are sometimes based on falsehoods."
Later in his interview with Trump, O'Reilly asked: “Does it hurt your feelings that they [the media] are making you into a hater?”
“No, because they always do it,” Trump said of the press. “The first thing they do with the Republicans or conservatives is the racist card. They pull out the racist card. They do it with everybody. I see that and once you know that, you feel a lot better about it.”
O’Reilly asked the president if he thinks the media will ever “give you a fair shot” and if Trump thinks he can convince the media to “take it down a bit."
“Yes, success will do that,” Trump said, citing his “Person of the Year” honor by Time magazine as one example.
Previous iterations of their White House interview have included controversial comments about Russia, including O'Reilly's characterization of Russian President Vladimir Putin as "a killer," which sparked a back-and-forth between the Fox News host and the Kremlin.
A spokesperson from the Kremlin demanded an apology from O'Reilly, calling his comments "unacceptable and offensive." The Fox News host promised to address the demand on Monday's show, but instead balked at an atonement, saying "I'm working on that apology, but it may take a little time. Might want to check in with me around 2023."
Following Monday's show, the Kremlin fired back, a spokesperson being quoted as saying O'Reilly's refusal to apologize "characterizes that news outlet in a bad way."
O'Reilly's interview with Trump, which aired in part on Super Bowl Sunday and partly on The O'Reilly Factor, has also covered healthcare, the president's unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, his views on immigration and his "respect" for Putin.