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Trump: Press Is Dishonest and Out of Control

Says he inherited a mess, at home and abroad 2/16/2017 3:14 PM Eastern
President Donald Trump, in a press conference from the East Room in the White House, sounded now familiar themes as he discussed how the press is covering his administration.
Credit: Mark Wilson, Getty Images

In his first solo press conference from the White House as President, Donald Trump mocked some journalists' questions and offered often snarky responses as he was peppered with queries about Russia, which he addressed mostly by outlining how the news stories were all wrong and he had no deals or connections with the country.

The press conference began with Trump telling the members of the press corps they were dishonest, part of an almost half-hour opening statement that was a defense of his first weeks in office and an attack on the reporters who have been covering them.

He called the Russia story "fake news put out by the media" and said the New York Times story about Russian contacts with his campaign was a joke. He also attacked the Wall Street Journal, saying it was “almost as disgraceful as the failing New York Times.”

RELATED: 'Fake News' Charge Not Hurting CNN, Zucker Says

Trump said he has never seen more dishonest media than the corps of political reporters and asked why they never call him for their stories.

"Much of the media in Washington D.C., along with New York, Los Angeles, in particular, speaks not for the people but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system," he said, adding that the press has become "so dishonest that if we don't talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people. The dishonesty is out of control."

RELATED: Trump Bars CNN, 'NY Times,' Other Outlets From Press Gaggle

He said some of the media coverage of his administration is "fantastic," but called much of it "distortion" and suggested that he would take his message directly to the people. He has already been doing that via his numerous tweets responding to stories and attacking the press.

Trump said he inherited a mess, at home and abroad, suggesting he was just trying to fix it. He spoke almost entirely in superlatives, saying things would soon be great and fantastic, including the "monumental" task of returning the government to the people.

He again reminded the crowd of his 306 electoral votes, and said the media was attacking him because he was following through on pledges he made. "And they are not happy about it."

The president predicted coverage of the conference would say he was "ranting," though he said he wasn't. And afterward several commenters -- including CNN's Jake Tapper -- invoked the phrase "airing of grievances" from the Seinfeld faux holiday Festivus, and Festivus is currently trending on Twitter.

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