John King, host of CNN’s Inside Politics, began the show on Tuesday by criticizing the press conference Donald Trump had just concluded in Puerto Rico as “a love fest” for the Republican president and his staff.
“You saw the president sitting around a table,” King began. “You heard the president give himself high grades for what happened in Puerto Rico in the response effort that is still underway” after Hurricane Maria devastated the island two weeks ago.
He stated that Trump brought several participants into the discussion, including Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló and representatives from “every branch of the armed services” in America.
However, King noted that San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, “with whom [Trump] has had differences,” was left sitting at the end of one of the tables” even though “we’re told he shook the mayor’s hand on the way into that meeting.”
The CNN anchor then hammered the session as “a remarkable, remarkable presentation there from the president clearly trying to say ‘I’m doing fine, Puerto Rico, and I’m doing fine for you.’”
He added that there was “not much discussion ... about how to get more aid there faster, how to get more medical personnel in on the ground faster.”
King also stated:
The president goes there, grades himself A-plus before he left Washington. He knows the dust-up in Puerto Rico. He knows that even a lot of officials like the governor who said: “The president has been available every time I’ve needed him, that I know Washington’s trying to do everything, but we need more.”
The president clearly there, deciding to have a “love fest” for him and his team.
“This president is unique,” the CNN host added. “We have seen this time and time again. He communicates in a unique way. He does love to be told and sometimes he says it himself that ‘I’m doing a great job,’ but it was remarkable.”
Trump is “a politician,” King then noted. “He understands the environment. It should be no surprise that he is defending the performance of his team, and it is also just a fact that whatever you think of what’s happening in Puerto Rico, it’s not all the federal government’s fault for what things have not been up to speed.”
The anchor then indicated. “It’s a combination of things, but he left the mayor there, called on the governor, brought up his chief of staff [John Kelly]. who doesn’t like to speak in public.”
“The mayor of San Juan, who he called a ‘political ingrate,’ is sitting right there, and she’s not brought into the conversation,” King grumbled.
After playing a video clip later in the segment, King stated: “You just saw the president of the United States shaking hands with Carmen Ylin Cruz of San Juan; you see the pictures.”
“There was a question as to whether they would actually meet heading into this,” he noted, but Cruz was eventually “invited to the briefing,” and she said in a statement:
I will use this opportunity to reiterate the primary message. This is about saving lives. It’s not about politics.
This is also about giving the people of Puerto Rico the respect we deserve and recognizing the moral imperative to do both.
“So she wants to make the point,” King asserted. “The president, clearly with the press in the room, the media there, was not going to let anybody who might be critical speak,”
The host then stated that even Rosselló, “who I think has handled this very well and has publicly said nice things about the president, says: ‘We need more. We appreciate everything they’ve done so far, but we need more.’”
Panelist Margaret Taley of Bloomberg News threw fuel on the fire when she claimed: “This opening message was more like a pep rally than it was a listening session.”
That comment led King to slam Trump for “tweeting out that it’s fake news and political ingrates who are telling you things are not going as well as they are in Puerto Rico.”
“No, the pictures we are showing, the pictures our team of reporters -- a fabulous team of reporters -- is not fake news,” the anchor added. “It doesn’t mean the federal government isn’t trying, but the people need help.”
King concluded the segment by declaring it’s not a lack of political gratitude “for somebody to say: ‘My city needs more. My people need more. Can you do more?’”
As NewsBusters previously reported, Washington Post Media Analyst Eric Wemple slammed King on Monday for stating that Trump gave a “pitch perfect” speech to the nation regarding the massacre in Las Vegas. Maybe that’s why the CNN host came down on the president so hard one day later.