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Trump attacks media, says N.Y. Times should ‘beg for forgiveness’

After relative silence post-Mueller report, president explodes with two-hour Twitter rant

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing from the White House on March 8. On Tuesday, he told Democrats he supports an infrastructure package. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing from the White House on March 8. On Tuesday, he told Democrats he supports an infrastructure package. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

After days of media coverage describing the White House portrayed in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report as rife with dysfunction and ignored presidential orders, Donald Trump on Tuesday lambasted those who cover him.

He even suggested one of his top media targets, The New York Times, should “get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness.”

In one of his most explosive morning Twitter rants in months, the president went on an extended diatribe against the media that included mocking CNN and other outlets, and renewing his charge that MSNBC morning show host Joe Scarborough, a former GOP House member from Florida, is “psycho.”

The president was notably terse with reporters at the White House on Monday when they asked him questions about some of Mueller’s findings and the potential that House Democrats might eventually impeach him for the former FBI director’s finding that he attempted to obstruct justice in some cases and likely did in others.

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Trump often takes questions for 10 minutes or more at the executive mansion when reporters are given access. But he answered Monday in short bursts, including saying, “nobody disobeys my orders” even though Mueller uncovered a number of times his top aides did so. And when asked if he is worried about impeachment, he replied, “not even a little bit.”

He let his frustrations with the media show on Tuesday morning.

He first lashed out at Times columnist Paul Krugman, saying his predictions of tanking markets have been proven wrong.

“I wonder if the New York Times will apologize to me a second time, as they did after the 2016 Election. But this one will have to be a far bigger & better apology,” the president wrote, prompting the newspaper’s chief White House correspondent, Peter Baker, to respond with this tweet: “Never apologized, never had a reason to.”

The clearly agitated president then alleged that the “Radical Left Democrats, together with their leaders in the Fake News Media, have gone totally insane!” He concluded that must mean “the Republican agenda is working.”

But Democratic lawmakers and the party’s 2020 presidential candidates say the economy is not as strong as Trump makes it out to be, signaling they intend to challenge him on what he wants to be a central part of his reelection message.

Without defining a specific period, the president contended in yet another tweet that in the “‘old days’ if you were President and you had a good economy, you were basically immune from criticism.”

That is simply a false statement. All U.S. presidents have faced stiff criticism and scrutiny over most decisions they have considered and eventually made.

Trump, without providing supporting data, proclaimed, “I have, as President, perhaps the greatest economy in history.” That prompted Sven Henrich, founder and lead market strategist for NorthmanTrader, to post a chart showing U.S. GDP levels since the 1950s — they show GDP has been higher many times just since the mid-1990s. And it has been higher many years before that.

Henrich also posted another chart showing a decline in corporate tax receipts, something that occurred before the last few U.S. economic recessions.

But Trump was far from done there, next turning his focus to cable television morning show ratings. He touted the high ratings of “Fox & Friends,” and then lashed out at MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” writing: “Morning Psycho (Joe), who helped get me elected in 2016 by having me on (free) all the time, has nosedived, too Angry…….Dumb and Sick. A really bad show with low ratings — and will only get worse.”

Next up was CNN and former morning show host Chris Cuomo, whom he said was “rewarded … with a now unsuccessful prime time slot, despite his massive failure in the morning. Only on CNN!”

Notably, Scarborough and Cuomo often criticize the president’s behavior and decisions — the former with commentary on his show and the latter with tough questions to Trump surrogates on his.

The president kept going, venting after days of relative silence other than a collection of tweets attacking Mueller and his investigation. Next up was Twitter, his preferred outlet to communicate with his base other than Fox News. He hit on a conservative contention, saying the social media site is targeting him and other conservative figures in an attempt to stifle their free speech rights.

But not before he gave himself a pat on the back by apparently quoting market analyst Daniel Ives, a guest on Fox Business Network, as saying “the best thing ever to happen to Twitter is Donald Trump.” The commander in chief’s assessment of that: “So true, but they don’t treat me well as a Republican.” He went on to call Twitter “very discriminatory” and urged Congress to crack down on the company.

The president’s morning Twitter screed started at 5:59 a.m. He signaled a possible end nearly two hours later, at 7:47 a.m., with three words he has flirted with making his reelection slogan: “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”

The president has erupted before after a few days of relative silence. On Tuesday, he at least started to do that on his favorite social media site. He has three events on his public schedule. None, as of Tuesday morning, are slated to include reporters, who routinely pepper him with questions.

But, as always, that could change.

“It’ll be up to him,” aides often say when asked if reporters might get some face time with Trump on any given day.

Correction April 24 6 a.m. | An earlier version of this story misattributed Trump’s Twitter quote. 

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