Not only did he spend some time lambasting multiple national reporters for major news networks, he also broke down his media consumption diet, explaining that he no longer watches CNN (“It’s actually not doing nearly as well as others”) or MSNBC (“It’s ridiculous”).
According to the reporters who spoke with Trump over dinner, the president is surprised by the intense “journalistic criticism” surrounding his leadership, and by the scrutiny that only seems to be increasing as time goes on.
“I’ve been able to do something that I never thought I had the ability to do,” said Trump. “I’ve been able not to watch or read things that aren’t pleasant, and it keeps you young.”
Time reports, however, that Trump still has multiple big-screen TVs in the Treaty Room of the White House and in his private dining room, so he’s still quite aware of what’s being said about him in the media. Apparently he also gets dozens of magazines and newspapers delivered to his office daily. He’s well-known for marking up articles and asking staffers to address issues he finds troublesome in any reporting.
“Washington Post, New York Times, they’re really, really dishonest,” he said at the dinner. He repeated the mantra to the Time reporters at the table: “You people are quite dishonest, in all fairness.”
The Washington Post did an analysis of Trump’s tweets, which showcased how his tweet activity increased when Fox and Friends is on, and given Trump’s consistent praise of Fox News, it should come as no surprise that it seems to be his news outlet of choice. He claims that he’s also responsible for their positive ratings bump.
From there, Trump went from macro to micro, insulting CNN reporters Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon, and The Late Show host Stephen Colbert, who has been relentless about Trump of late. Colbert reportedly riled Trump (and the FCC) with his insult-laden monologue on May 1.
On CNN’s Chris Cuomo:
“CNN in the morning, Chris Cuomo, he’s sitting there like a chained lunatic. He’s like a boiler ready to explode, the level of hatred. And the entire… the entire CNN platform is that way.”
On CNN’s Don Lemon:
“This Don Lemon, who’s perhaps the dumbest person in broadcasting, Don Lemon at night it’s like — sometimes they’ll have a guest who by mistake will say something good. And they’ll start screaming, ‘We’re going to commercial!’ They cut him off. Remember?”
On Stephen Colbert:
“You see a no-talent guy like Colbert. There’s nothing funny about what he says, and what he says is filthy… and you have kids watching. And it only builds up my base. It only helps me, people like him. The guy was dying. By the way, they were going to take him off television, then he started attacking me and he started doing better. But his show was dying. I’ve done his show… But when I did his show — which, by the way, was very highly rated — it was high highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.”
“His comments are beneath the dignity of the office of the President,” a CNN representative said about Trump’s candid remarks.