On Thursday, President Donald Trump held a marathon press conference, covering a whole host of topics and questions from journalists inside and outside the establishment media.
Both during and afterward, the media meltdowns were palpable. On both social media and television, they lamented the President’s repeated attacks on their negative coverage of his administration and what he deemed to be fake news as a result of their “level of dishonesty” that’s “out of control.”
Without any further adieu, here’s the top 12 moments from the nearly-two-hour presser of the President laying into the liberal media.
1. During his prepared remarks, Trump denounced the media that largely reside in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. but claim to represent the rest of the country. However, the President admitted that this is anything but the truth:
Unfortunately, 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. The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people. Tremendous disservice. We have to talk to find out what’s going on, because the press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.
2. Trump offered this aside about recent coverage in The New York Times concerning allegations his campaign team were in contact with Russian officials: “The failing New York Times wrote a big, long front-page story yesterday. And it was very much discredited, as you know. It was — it’s a joke.”
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3. Trump admitted that he “enjoy[s] this back and forth that I guess I have all my life” with the media, but also realized that he’s “never seen more dishonest media than frankly, the political media.”
4. In the first of multiple punches lobbed at CNN, Trump denounced the “anger and hatred” coming out of the network. With Jim Acosta begging to respond, Trump told him to calm down, reminding the media that many Americans view them less favorably than even Congress:
I mean, I watch CNN, it’s so much anger and hatred and just the hatred. I don’t watch it any more because it’s very good — he’s saying no. It’s okay, Jim — it’s okay, Jim — you’ll have your chance. But I watch others too. You’re not the only one so don’t feel badly. But I think it should be straight. I think it should be — I think it would be frankly more interesting. I know how good everybody’s ratings are right now but I think that actually — I think that’d actually be better. People — I mean, you have a lower approval rate than Congress. I think that’s right.
5. Trump finally allowed Acosta to have his turn and the CNN correspondent wanted to try and clear the air. However, Trump wasn’t having it:
ACOSTA: Just for the record, we don't hate you. I don't hate you. I just want to pass that along.
TRUMP: Ask — ask Jeff Zucker how he got his job, okay?
ACOSTA: If I may follow up on some of the questions that have taken place so far here, sir, and I don't know which microphone to hold here. I've got three microphones.
TRUMP: You do have other people and your ratings aren't as good as some of the other people that are waiting.
ACOSTA: They're pretty good right now, actually, Mr. President.
6. This one needed no further introduction as he laid into CNN and other networks for the venom they’ve displayed (while complimenting the Trump-friendly Fox & Friends):
The tone is such hatred. I’m really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such — I do get good ratings, you have to admit that — the tone is such hatred. I watched this morning a couple of the networks. And I have to say, Fox & Friends in the morning, they’re very honorable people.
7. If you thought Trump was done, you were severely mistaken. After chastising the media industry and specifically CNN, the President went even further during his Acosta exchange by calling out Don Lemon and his show, CNN Tonight:
Well, you look at your show that goes on at 10 o’clock in the evening. You just take a look at that show. That is a constant hit. The panel is almost always exclusive anti-Trump. The good news is he doesn’t have good ratings. But the panel is almost exclusive anti-Trump. And the hatred and venom coming from his mouth; the hatred coming from other people on your network.
“The public gets it, you know. Look, when I go to rallies, they turn around, they start screaming at CNN. They want to throw their placards at CNN,” Trump added.
8. Predicting the headlines for Friday morning, Trump provided his two cents: “Tomorrow, they will say, “Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.” I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you. You know, you’re dishonest people. But — but I’m not ranting and raving. I love this.”
9. At the end of his latest duel with Acosta, Trump withdrew his labeling of CNN as “fake news” but instead, he offered a new nickname:
ACOSTA: Just because the attack of fake news and attacking our network, I just want to ask you, sir —
TRUMP: I'm changing it from fake news though.
ACOSTA: Doesn’t that undermine —
TRUMP: Very fake news.
10. This one was particularly intriguing as Trump invoked the late Howard Cosell in this swing at the media and their torpedoed credibility:
The public doesn’t believe you people anymore. Now, maybe I had something to do with that. I don’t know. But they don’t believe you. If you were straight and really told it like it is, as Howard Cosell used to say, right? Of course, he had some questions also. But if you were straight, I would be your biggest booster.
11. Trump had called on each of the “big three” networks and cable networks by the waning moments, so a BBC reporter snuck in a question. What the BBC reporter probably didn’t expect was a rhetorical eye-roll from the President:
BBC REPORTER: Could I just ask you — thank you very much, Mr. President. The trouble —
TRUMP: Where are you from?
BBC REPORTER: BBC.
TRUMP: Here’s another beauty.
BBC REPORTER: That’s a good line. Impartial, free and fair.
TRUMP: Yeah. Sure.
BBC REPORTER: Mr. President —
TRUMP: Just like CNN right?
12. The final, eyebrow-raising exchange was his mocking of American Urban Radio Networks correspondent April Ryan. As soon as Trump called on her, he admitted to the chagrin of Ryan that “this is going to be a bad question, but that's okay.”
Ryan later pushed Trump to hold meetings with the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus, so Trump responded by informing the liberal reporter that she should “set up the meeting” since they’re probably “friends of yours”:
TRUMP: Do you want to set up the meeting?
RYAN: No — no — no. I'm not —
TRUMP: Are they friends of yours?
RYAN: I'm just a reporter.
TRUMP: No, no, set up the meeting.
RYAN: I know some of them, but I'm sure they're watching right now.
TRUMP: Let’s go. Set up a meeting. I would love to meet with the Black Caucus.