Sunday 18 March 2018

Trump lashes out at 'critics and naysayers' over negative news coverage

President Donald Trump waves as he arrives to give the commencement address at the US Coast Guard Academy. (AP/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump waves as he arrives to give the commencement address at the US Coast Guard Academy. (AP/Susan Walsh)

Vivian Salama and Darlene Superville

President Donald Trump has lashed out at his "critics and naysayers" following more than a week of negative news coverage beginning with his sudden decision to fire James Comey as FBI director.

In an address to the newest group of US Coast Guard officers, President Trump urged the 195 graduates in the Class of 2017 to "put your head down and fight, fight, fight" when life presents them with challenges and adversity.

Mr Trump's appearance at the academy came the day after reports that he had personally appealed to Mr Comey to abandon the FBI's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

President Trump fired Mr Flynn earlier this year for misleading top White House officials about his contacts with Russian officials.

The White House has denied the latest report, which landed amid a furore over the president's recent Oval Office meeting with Russian diplomats in which Mr Trump is said to have disclosed classified information.

The White House has said it was "wholly appropriate" for President Trump to share the information.

"Look at the way I've been treated lately, especially by the media," President Trump said.

"No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.

"You can't let them get you down. You can't let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams."

"I guess that's why we won," he said, before continuing to offer the graduates his advice.

"Adversity makes you stronger. Don't give in, don't back down and never stop doing what you know is right," Mr Trump said.

"Nothing worth doing ever, ever, ever came easy and the more righteous your fight, the more opposition that you will face."

President Trump also praised the newly minted Coast Guard officers, emphasising that they will be an asset to his efforts to protect the homeland, protect US harbours and seas from drug smuggling and human trafficking and keep out "all who seek to do harm to our country".

But his own political troubles were not far from his mind.

"Things are not always fair," Mr Trump said, adding that sometimes "things happen to you that you do not always deserve".

Press Association

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