Wednesday 21 March 2018

Trump turns fire on 'disgusting' media coverage

Donald Trump addresses supporters in Fairfield, Connecticut. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
Donald Trump addresses supporters in Fairfield, Connecticut. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Laurie Kellman

Donald Trump's campaign went on a new tear against the media yesterday, blaming the "disgusting" press for a week of distractions at a time when Republicans have urged him - again - to focus on his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Trump will get another chance to reset his campaign today when he is expected to lay out his plan for defeating what his running mate Mike Pence yesterday called, "radical Islamic terrorism" with "real specifics" on how to make the United States safer.

But Trump set up that address with extensive new complaints about the latest disastrous week of coverage and reports of chaos within his campaign.

Trump denied that any of this was due to his remarks that supporters of gun rights could "do something" if Hillary Clinton became president and appointed liberal judges and his repeated insistence on the falsehood that President Barack "Obama founded Isis".


Trump tweeted yesterday: "If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn't put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20pc."

That tweet was followed by: "My rallies are not covered properly by the media. They never discuss the real message and never show crowd size or enthusiasm."

It was the latest in a series of implicit acknowledgements that he is not winning and in fact could be headed for a big loss to Clinton on election day in less than three months' time.

Signs are popping up across the political landscape that Trump's year-plus flirtation with presidential politics is in danger of not advancing much further.

As gaffe has followed gaffe, additional Republicans have come forward to say that they are not supporting Trump's bid, with Carlos Gutierrez, secretary of commerce under President George W Bush, announcing his support for Clinton yesterday.

Hillary Clinton: ahead in polls Picture: AP/Andrew Harnik)
Hillary Clinton: ahead in polls Picture: AP/Andrew Harnik)

Meanwhile, Republican leaders in Washington and in the most competitive states have begun openly contemplating turning their backs on their party's presidential nominee and putting their money and effort instead behind the party's House and Senate candidates.

Frustratingly for Republicans, Trump's missteps have overshadowed difficult news for Clinton - the new release of 44 previously unreleased email exchanges Clinton had while at the State Department.

They became public on Tuesday and showed her interacting with lobbyists, political and Clinton Foundation donors and business interests while serving as secretary of state.

'The New York Times' yesterday catalogued a culture of crisis inside the Trump campaign.

That set off Trump on a Twitter rant yesterday. He called the report "fiction" and reiterated that he was not about to change what he sees as a winning campaign formula. "I am who I am," he tweeted.

Given that, Trump's allies set out yesterday to bat down bad publicity and warn people not to write Trump off.

Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, from Alabama, warned that the "campaign is not over" and described Trump as still being in transition from the bulldog who beat 16 rivals in the GOP primary to a general election candidate who communicates differently to a wider electorate what he wants to do differently from Clinton.


"He's got to wrestle in his own heart, how does he communicate who he is, what he believes, the change he thinks he can bring to America, why what he's doing is fulfilling the desires of the American people," Sessions said on ABC's 'This Week'.

Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort criticised the news media for not focusing on what otherwise would have been a substantive week of duelling economic speeches from Trump and Clinton.

He said Trump was continuing to raise millions of dollars while travelling to key battleground states - Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida - and remained personally "very connected" to the operations of his campaign.

"You could have covered what he was saying or you could try and take an aside and take the Clinton narrative and play it out. And you chose to do that instead," Manafort said on CNN.

Pence said on 'Fox News Sunday' that he remained proud to be Trump's running mate and advised: "Stay tuned, it's very early in this campaign. This coming Monday, you're going to see a vision for confronting radical Islamic terrorism."

Irish Independent

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