Thursday 14 December 2017

Real leaks, fake news, ranting and raving - Trump confirms new travel ban in chaotic news conference

  • Remarkable press conference touched on fake news, leaks and Russia
  • Insists his administration is 'fine tuned machine'
  • Scathing attack on media
  • New travel order due next week

U.S. President Donald Trump faces a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump faces a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
White House advisors (L-R) Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner listen during a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
The president has launched a scathing attack Newsdesk Newsdesk

Donald Trump, in an extraordinary press conference, has launched a stinging attack on the media, his predecessors and confirmed a replacement for his ‘Muslim travel ban’ next week.

Mr Trump insisted that his team was running "like a fine-tuned machine" and lampooned the mainstream media that he said was peddling "fake news".

“I open the paper and I see stories of chaos, chaos,” he said. “It’s the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite not being able to get my cabinet approved.”

He also defended the roll-out of his travel ban and said that he would be issuing a new order next week.

He called the roll-out "very smooth" and "perfect" but says it ran into "a bad court".

He said he would be issuing an order next week aimed at keeping the American people safe, as his temporary ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries remains kept on hold by a federal court.

"We will be issuing a new and very comprehensive order to protect our people," Trump said.

He clarified that it will be tailored to recent court rulings.

Separately the US Justice Department has said in Trump intends in the near future to rescind travel ban and replace it was a new "substantially revised" order, according to a court filing.

The Justice Department said that given the upcoming replacement, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should not reconsider an earlier ruling that suspended Trump's January 27 order.

"In so doing, the President will clear the way for immediately protecting the country rather than pursuing further, potentially time-consuming litigation," the Justice Department said in its filing.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump also used the wide-ranging press conference to attack his predecessors in the White House.

U.S. President Donald Trump takes questions during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump takes questions during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The former reality star insisted that he had inherited a "seriously divided" country. He said that "this isn't Donald Trump that divided a nation":

During the conference he said:

“I don't think there's ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we've done," he says, in between swipes at the news media for not reporting on him fairly.

Reading from prepared remarks he says the press represents special interests and not the people, and has become "so dishonest".

"The level of dishonesty is out of control," he says, adding that he needs to find out what's going on and will not "let it happen" because he'll take his message "straight to the people".

He went on to say:

“I inherited a mess. At home and abroad. A mess.... no matter where you look, a disaster... we'll take care of it. I just wanted to let you know- a mess.”

“And we haven’t even started the big work that starts early next week.” He added, “We’re just getting started.”

During the press conference he also declared that leaks from his adminstration were real but stories about them were fake:

"The leaks are absolutely real, the news is fake because so much of the news is fake," he said.

His criticism of the media, during the 77 minute session, also extended to the future coverage of the ongoing conference.

"Tomorrow, they will say: 'Donald Trump rants and raves at the press,'" Trump said. "I'm not ranting and raving. I'm just telling you. You know, you're dishonest people. But I'm not ranting and raving. I love this. I'm having a good time doing it."

Trump also addressed concerns about his Russian links.

He said said reports in the media about his administration's relationship with Russia may make it difficult for him to strike a deal with Vladimir Putin to ease tensions between Washington and Moscow.

"Putin probably assumes that he can't make a deal with me any more because politically it would be unpopular for a politician to make a deal," he said.

Mr Trump argued that "nobody that I know of" on his campaign staff contacted Russian officials. He repeatedly denied having links with Russia, a claim he deemed "fake news".

Takeaway moments from an extraordinary press conference:

1. 'Are they friends of yours?'

An awkward moment as Mr Trump is asked whether he will meet with the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss urban issues.

He joked that the reporter, who is black, should set up the meeting and said, "are they friends of yours?"

2. 'I'm having a great time up here'

Tomorrow they will say, 'Donald Trump rants and raves at press conference', I'm not ranting and raving. I'm actually having a good time.

Mr Trump is also clarifying why he always refers to negative coverage of him as "fake news". Apparently, it's all about tone.

"I know what's good, I know what's bad. When they make something that should be good negative" that's when i have a problem.

3. 'The leaks are real but the news is fake'

Mr Trump was asked whether the news reports he is criticising are "fake news" or based on leaked secrets. It would appear that they could not be both. The president disagrees.

The leaks are real but the news is fake

4. On false claims on margin of victory: 'I was given that information'

After an extended diatribe about "fake news" coming from prominent news outlets, Mr Trump was confronted with the fact that he has repeatedly claimed to have won the presidency by the largest margin since Ronald Reagan, despite the fact that that is nowhere near true.

"I was given that information," he said. "I don't know, I was given that information. I've seen that information around. It was a big margin."

5. Trump: Russia links are fake news

Donald Trump has denied that his senior aides were in "constant contact" with Russia during the campaign.

"The good thing is it's starting to turn. People are starting to focus on the illegal giving out classified information."

He says the reports surrounding links between his allies and Russia are "fake news" and that leakers should be ashamed of themselves.


Additional reporting by agencies

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