President Donald Trump lashed out again at the news media Monday, criticizing his negative poll numbers as “fake news” and describing New York Times reporting as “total fiction.”
Trump began his criticism early Monday morning by suggesting that unflattering poll numbers evaluating his early presidency were “fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election.”
“Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting,” he wrote.
Trump appeared to be referring to his presidential approval ratings, which according to CNN are historically low at 44 percent, compared to those of the previous nine presidents at similar points in their presidency. The next lowest-scoring president, Ronald Reagan, still had a majority of 51 percent supporting him when he first took office. Gallup, in its presidential approval rating, found Trump’s score similarly low, with 45 percent of respondents approving of his nascent tenure.
But in a Reuters/Ipsos poll last week, a plurality of Americans — 49 percent — said they somewhat or strongly agreed with Trump’s immigration order. 41 percent said they somewhat or strongly disagreed, according to the poll.
Trump tweeted shortly thereafter that the media, “in order to marginalize, lies.”
“I call my own shots, largely based on an accumulation of data, and everyone knows it,” he wrote.
But Trump paused his criticism of the press to highlight his appearance on one show: the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, which he said would air an interview with him at 8 p.m. that night.
Trump appeared on O’Reilly’s show in an interview aired the night before, prior to the Super Bowl, and received criticism when he defended his respect for Russian president Vladimir Putin.
“I do respect him. Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get along with them,” Trump told O'Reilly in the interview. When O’Reilly described the Russian leader as a “killer,” Trump implied that America had a similar reputation and could not judge.
“There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers,” he said. “Well, you think our country is so innocent?”
Trump did not disclose the topic of his upcoming interview with O’Reilly Monday night.
On Twitter Monday, Trump returned to attacking news outlets by name, calling the New York Times’ reporting “total fiction.”
Over the weekend, the New York Times published a story suggesting that Trump and his staff were reevaluating the White House’s strategy after his sweeping immigration order was stopped by a federal judge in Seattle and spurred significant nationwide backlash. The Times also reported that Trump’s inner circle was split among advisers like Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus competing for power and influence in the West Wing.
“They have gotten it wrong for two years, and now are making up stories & sources!” Trump wrote.